The return of (future) US National Team midfielder Jermaine Jones to the pitch will be put off again, as the Schalke man's injured shin has suffered complications. A metal plate inserted into Jones' leg during the first surgery was taken out during a recent procedure, setting him back four to six weeks.
The concern now for US National Team fans still waiting for Jones to take the field his adopted national side is his condition and form when things pick up again in 2010; the protracted amount of time that Jones has missed for Schalke means that his return will likely be slow and time consuming. Despite yet another delay, there's no reason to think that Jones won't be fully healthy by next spring, when the US will begin its serious preparations for South Africa; that doesn't mean, however, that Jones will have had ample time to work himself into the American setup. Germany's long winter break won't help, as Jones will again not be playing almost immediately after he returns.
For many American, it seems as though Jones will never be healthy and ready to take the field as a Yank for the first time. For that reason, I'm advocating an "out of sight, out of mind" approach; as long as Jermaine Jones steps on the field for the US, fans shouldn't count on him as a major contributor heading into 2010.
Besides, there's that pesky business of actually qualifying first. If the American don't take care of business in either of the next two matches, Jones health is a moot point.