NEW YORK -- Curt Schilling, in the words of his manager Terry Francona, had been looking forward to his Game 1 start against the New York Yankees since November of 2003.
Now, after a rough outing in the ALCS opener and a sore right ankle, what start does he look forward to now?
Game 4? Game 5? Somewhere in the World Series?
Francona was actually asked last night whether Schilling would be available for Boston's World Series roster.
"Not only are you getting ahead of me five days, you're getting two weeks ahead," Francona said. "We could spin it a bunch of different ways, but let's just see how he does."
The Yanks might have something to say about the composition of Boston's World Series roster.
If he's unable to pitch this weekend in Boston, Schilling's next start could be against the Minnesota Twins in March at Fort Myers.
"I know Curt," Yanks manager Joe Torre said. "He's a competitor. I expect to see him out there again, you don't get to where he is being soft.
"If he doesn't show it, it's because he's hurting. I'll be sorry he's hurting, but I won't be sorry if we miss facing him."
Schilling, who will require surgery after the season, allowed six hits and six runs in Tuesday's 10-7 loss. He was on the mound for three innings and 58 pitches, his shortest outing of the post-season since the 1993 playoffs.
"If I can't go out with something better than I had in Game 1, I won't go back out there," Schilling said. "I couldn't get anything behind the ball."
Should the Sox have re-jigged their rotation to give Schilling more time to rest?
"We considered it," Sox general manager Theo Epstein said, "but everyone was in agreement. This was not an injury that would benefit from one, two, even three, four, five days' rest.
"It's not a matter of rest, the tendon itself is (fine). We have to find a way to stabilize it, so he can have his normal delivery."
Schilling suffered a bone bruise on his right foot prior to the all-star game, which he missed. In September, the pain was diagnosed as tendinitis. He aggravated the high ankle strain against the Anaheim Angels in the division series.
Playing down the injury coming into the ALCS, Schilling wore a protective boot on the foot on Monday as he left Yankee Stadium following Boston's workout.
Boston physician Dr. William Morgan said the sheath that covers Schilling's tendon is torn.
"Now the tendon is snapping over the bone," Morgan said. "We've been working on ways of making modifications, so that he'll be able to continue to pitch. During a bullpen (session) the other day we were able to get him to the point he was comfortable, and we were confident that he was going to be able to pitch as was Curt.
HOPEFUL FOR GAME 5
"Once he did get out there, he experienced problems as you know. We're working on other techniques and making modifications. We hope that he will start Game 5."
Outside of Game 1 in the 1993 World Series at the SkyDome, Tuesday represented Schilling's second post-season loss in 13 post-season starts.
"He might have seemed discouraged after the game because he's been waiting so long for that game and he could not pitch that game the way he's able to physically," Francona said. "I don't think I've ever seen a guy with more heart or the ability to compete than this guy. That's part of the reason why I think we are fairly upbeat that he's pitch. He can handle adversity."
If Schilling can't start, the Sox will no doubt turn to righty Derek Lowe.
And if Schilling, Boston's 21-game winner and its October stud, can't pitch, it will be 86 years of World Series futility.