HOUSTON -- The Astros hope right-hander Felipe Paulino will be able to help them at some point this year, but if he does, it will be later than they anticipated a month ago.

Paulino was examined on Tuesday by team medical director David Lintner, who recommended an extra four weeks of rest in addition to the four weeks Paulino has already missed because of a pinched nerve in his right triceps area.

When he was first diagnosed with the injury, Paulino, who was expected to compete for a rotation spot in Spring Training, had already prepared himself for a long layoff. Although the Astros were estimating a one to two month recovery period, at the time, Paulino said he expected it to extend to three or four months. His forecast appears to be accurate.

"We'd hoped that it would move in a straight line and be 30 days of inactivity and then basically start Spring Training over again," general manager Ed Wade said. "I was viewing it as a 60-day proposition, thinking it would take 30 days to get ready again. Now we're at 60, and then hopefully at the end of 60 he'll begin his Spring Training and be ready to help us at some point during the season."

Paulino will return to Kissimmee, Fla., where he is following a strict conditioning program. He'll be re-evaluated by team doctors in another month.

"The conditioning has been great," Paulino said. "I feel better now physically than I have in the past."

Said Wade: "We've been putting emphasis that he needs to be in top condition at whatever point he gets a chance to begin throwing again. We just have to be patient at this point."