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SCHILLING FACING CAREER-ENDING SURGERY?

Curt Schilling has a partially torn right rotator cuff, and he and the Red Sox are squabbling over if the starting pitcher should have surgery that could keep him out all season, the Boston Herald reported.

The paper reported Schilling, 41, has opted against surgery but even without it could be out until at least the All-Star break.

"Curt Schilling was examined by Red Sox doctors in January after he reported feeling right shoulder discomfort," the Red Sox said in a statement. "Curt has started a program of rest, rehabilitation and shoulder strengthening in an attempt to return to pitching."

Schilling, who declined to comment, previously said 2008 would be his last season, and he agreed to a one-year, $8-million deal in November.

The dispute prompted him to consult with the union. According to the collective bargaining agreement, a player can seek a second opinion from his doctor, but it's in dispute what happens when that differs from the opinion of the team doctor.

Said Michael Weiner, a union lawyer: "The Red Sox have no basis to take any action against Curt."

Schilling spent seven weeks on the disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis last season.

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