Paul Konerko back Thursday?

CHICAGO -- Just the slightest bit of improvement in his recovery from a bone bruise in his left knee was enough for Paul Konerko to say Wednesday that he could be ready to return to the White Sox's lineup Thursday.

"I think I'll be able to play [Thursday] by what I did today," Konerko said. "We'll just have to wait and see. I wish it was today. In my mind, I didn't rule out today when I walked in today, but I know what I did in the cage wouldn't cut it."

What he did in the cage was take swings for the first time since he was hit by a pitch Sunday by the Red Sox left-hander Andrew Miller. Konerko took first base after he was hit, but came out of the game at the end of the inning and hasn't played since.

Not only did the White Sox lose that game after playing most of it without their captain and offensive leader, but they lost the first two games of the four-game series against the New York Yankees as well. They entered play Wednesday on a four-game losing streak.

Konerko leads the club in batting average, home runs and RBIs, and his absence leaves a huge void in the middle of the White Sox's lineup.

"Hopefully he's ready [Thursday] but like I say, PK's the type of guy that when he says he's ready to go he's ready," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "He's not going to be a hero. Hopefully he can help us [Thursday]."

Konerko said there is a remote possibility he could be available to pinch hit late in Wednesday's game but that he would still have to work out inflammation in order for that to happen.

Konerko is batting .305 with 25 homers and 76 RBIs for the White Sox, who are in third place in the AL Central.

Adam Dunn started at first again on Wednesday night.

Doug Padilla covers the White Sox for ESPNChicago.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.