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Klinsmann optimistic injured U.S. star Altidore will be able to face Belgium

Dan Wetzel
Yahoo Sports
United States' Jozy Altidore watches from the team bench during the group G World Cup soccer match between the United States and Germany at the Arena Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil, Thursday, June 26, 2014
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United States' Jozy Altidore watches from the team bench during the group G World Cup soccer match between the United States and Germany at the Arena Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil, Thursday, June 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

SAO PAULO – Jozy Altidore took part in a jogging session Friday at the U.S. men's national team's practice session and coach Jurgen Klinsmann expressed optimism that the talented forward’s left hamstring could be ready for action by Tuesday’s World Cup elimination game against Belgium.

It was the third consecutive day Altidore has jogged. Trainers stretched him out after the light run around the practice field. His gait appeared normal or close to normal as he ran.

“We are very optimistic to have him to be a part of the Belgium game,” Klinsmann said. "Every day is a big step forward.”

Technically his status is “uncertain,” according to team spokesman Michael Kammarman.

Altidore strained his hamstring early in the opening game against Ghana. While he has struggled of late to find the back of the net, the 6-foot-1, 24-year-old offers a physical presence that the U.S. can’t replicate. The U.S. played with just one player up – Clint Dempsey – and instead added to the midfield ranks.

Since the original injury, Klinsmann has expressed optimism that Altidore would return to action in the World Cup. His return would be a shot in the arm for the Americans as they meet up with the favored Belgians.

In other injury news, Jermaine Jones suffered a broken nose against Germany, which he acknowledged postgame. He is not expected to miss any time with the injury and will not wear a mask.

“It appears to be a minor fracture,” Kammarman said. “He’s fine. He’ll be able to play.”

Jones and Alejandro Bedoya were both tested during and after the game for concussions and deemed healthy.

The U.S. plays Belgium on Tuesday afternoon (4 p.m. ET) in the round of 16. The victor will face the winner of Switzerland and Argentina on July 5.

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