U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard reacts after England's Emile Heskey slid, feet first, into his ribs on Saturday. ((Paul Ellis/Getty Images))

U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard's bruised ribs are improving, and he is expected to play Friday against Slovenia.

U.S. Soccer's medical staff decided Howard didn't need further tests after examining him Monday, and the federation said he is making "substantial improvement."

 Howard was injured in the 29th minute against England on Saturday when Emile Heskey slammed feet-first into the American's chest at full speed. The studs of Heskey's shoes caught Howard squarely in the ribs, and he writhed in pain on the ground for several minutes.

Howard grimaced several times when play finally resumed and needed a painkiller at halftime, yet he remained in the game and made several big saves.

The Americans play Group C leader Slovenia on Friday. The United States and England are tied for second in the group with a point apiece, behind Slovenia.