Team doctor doesn't rule out return in May

Updated: May 20, 2005, 9:00 PM ET
Associated Press

BOSTON -- Curt Schilling's protective boot was removed from his injured right ankle Friday, and Boston's team doctor said he was "very encouraged" by the pitcher's progress.

Curt Schilling
Starting Pitcher
Boston Red Sox
3 1 2 0 20 8.15

Dr. Thomas Gill didn't put a timetable on when Schilling might pitch again for the Red Sox but said the right-hander has stayed in good condition. He outlined a series of steps for Schilling that include wearing a brace under a normal shoe, throwing from 120 feet, throwing from a mound and pitching in a simulated game.

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 thing."

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.

"It's tough to be able to say" whether the current injury is related to that, Gill said.

"Curt's actually doing a little bit better," Gill said after examining him before Friday night's game against Atlanta. "His shoulder feels great. You always worry about when someone's been in a boot that it's going to mess up their mechanics a little bit or that could potentially cause some shoulder issues.

"But there's been none of that with him. He's been working extremely hard with his conditioning. He's lost some weight during the program, so he's really staying in great shape."

In three starts this season, Schilling is 1-2 with an 8.15 ERA.

"These are the types of injuries that there's really no specific timetable for," Gill said. "We're basically going to go on his symptoms and how he progresses. Obviously, it's something we want to be very careful about, given the history last year."

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press