Red Sox were told Schilling could be out 12 weeks

The Red Sox have been hesitant to publicly set a timetable for Curt Schilling's return to the rotation, but the club reportedly does have a projected return date in mind.

Sources told the Boston Herald that Schilling was told he could need up to 12 weeks to recover from an ankle injury, meaning Boston could be without its ace until the All-Star Break in mid-July.

The Red Sox were originally given a 2-12 week window for Schilling's return, according to the paper's sources, and are hopeful Schilling's recovery will skew to the shorter end of that scale.

"I think that was based on the doctor trying to tell Schilling
that this is best case, worst case," Boston manager Terry Francona said before the Red
Sox lost 8-1 to the Toronto Blue Jays.

The club is unlikely to rush Schilling, since the pitcher acknowledged that his current stint on the disabled list might have resulted from trying to come back too soon from his offseason ankle surgery and rehab.

Schilling, who has been on the DL since April 29, called his injury a precursor to a stress fracture and had been in a protective boot until last week when he began to play catch without it.

The Red Sox's team doctor said he was "very encouraged" by Schilling's progress when the boot was removed last Friday.

When asked if he was ruling out the possibility that Schilling
would pitch for the Red Sox in May, Gill said, "I'm very honestly
not ruling him out for anything. ... It is a day-by-day type of

Schilling was injured April 23 when he bruised a bone in his
right ankle while pitching at Tampa Bay. At that time, general
manager Theo Epstein said Schilling would wear a removable boot for
two weeks.

He had surgery on the same ankle last November after pitching
with a different injury to it in the AL Championship Series and
World Series.

"His ankle was in the boot for three weeks. He's got to build
up strength," Francona said. "He's making progress."

In three starts this season, Schilling is 1-2 with an 8.15 ERA.
He's been on the disabled list since April 29.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.