"I'm hoping mid-August," Linebrink said. "We've already pretty much wasted a week in July. So middle of August will be a good three weeks, and hopefully it's not too much longer.
"When you talk about not touching a ball for seven days, that's half of it right there. I don't think once we do start playing catch, I don't see a week later me being on the mound or in a game.
"It probably will be a couple of weeks of a throwing program and a bullpen," Linebrink added. "They might want me to go on a rehab assignment. It all depends how I look when I start throwing [bullpens]."
Linebrink, who has been sidelined by shoulder soreness since July 23, played catch in Detroit this past Friday. He doesn't expect to throw lightly again until this weekend.
In the interim, Linebrink intends to use the down time for extra conditioning.
"Obviously I have to get my shoulder back in shape," Linebrink said. "But I want to keep everything else in shape and take advantage of this time now, so when we do start the throwing, I'm not starting from scratch."
Octavio Dotel figures to replace Linebrink in the eighth inning, although White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he intends to use Dotel at what he deems the most crucial stage of the game. While Linebrink looks forward to coming back with his shoulder "loads better than what it was," Dotel looks forward to pitching in a high-energy series like the current one at the Metrodome.
"Yeah, I love it," Dotel said. "Those series make me pumped up because we know what we need to do. We know what we're looking for. We know how we got to play teams like the Minnesota Twins."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.