BOSTON -- When Curt Schilling reported to Spring Training on Feb. 14, the Red Sox estimated that he would be rehabbing and strengthening his injured right shoulder for six to eight weeks, a plan that wouldn't consist of any type of throwing.

Though Thursday will mark exactly eight weeks from when that estimate was made, Schilling hasn't yet graduated to the crucial step in his recovery -- baseball activities.

Schilling is understandably antsy to start throwing, for that will be the best gauge to see if his arm is responding well to the rehab. But until the Red Sox give him the green light, the big righty remains in a holding pattern.

"We're trying to get him to a point to where when he does start throwing, he can legitimately go out and use the baseball and not go backwards in terms of arm strength," said manager Terry Francona. "I think [assistant trainer] Mike Reinold feels like he's done a good job. He's not there yet. Again, I know Schill is champing at the bit to throw, which I can understand. That's where they get their enjoyment, doing what they do."

The Red Sox believe that if they were to indulge Schilling by letting him throw now, it would be a costly mistake.

"I don't think Mike thinks [Schilling's] at that point where we can rightfully hope that he would be able to go out and pitch for a while without going backwards," Francona said.

In a best-case scenario, Schilling will return to the Red Sox right around the All-Star break.