"He has until 28 February. He knows the date and it's up to him," said Hearn.
"He's got a lot of issues he's trying to clear up. He knows the sport doesn't revolve around one person, but he knows we love him and we miss him.
"He's probably thought about coming back for the World Championship but you can't ever say what Ronnie is really thinking. He does tend to change his mind every 24 hours."
O'Sullivan was ranked ninth at the end of last season, and although he has provisionally dropped to 24th after missing several tournaments, as defending champion he would qualify for the World Championship and be the top seed.
"I've been cleaning out stables and pig sties, taking down fences, putting rubbish into barrels and clearing mud," he told the paper.
"It has been mainly manual work, also getting big bales of hay in to feed the animals. I was getting so bored I had to do something, and needed a goal to get out of bed in the morning.
O'Sullivan's World Championship wins
18-14 v John Higgins
18-8 v Graeme Dott
18-8 v Ali Carter
18-11 v Ali Carter
"There are personal things I need to sort out before I can even think of a return. I have until February to make that decision about the Crucible, anyway, but I am still playing every couple of weeks at my mum's house."
O'Sullivan was the final player to sign up for this season, having been hesitant because of differences of opinion with World Snooker over the demands on players.
His management cited personal problems as his reason for taking a break, and he has been eager to strike the right balance between a career and family life, which is complicated by the increasing amount of travel on the expanding snooker tour, and the ranking points system which rewards playing regularly.
O'Sullivan also suffered badly with glandular fever last year, but put that behind him at the World Championship to land his fourth title, beating Ali Carter in the final.
Ken Doherty, the 1997 world champion, wrote on Twitter that he would welcome the return of O'Sullivan, widely considered the most naturally talented player in the sport, and by some margin its biggest star at the box office.
"Looks like he's coming back?? He must miss it, the buzz, the atmosphere, excitement???
"Game will always survive, it is and always has been bigger than any one person, love to see him come back though."
O'Sullivan has played exhibition events in recent months, so would not be coming back entirely cold.
But his friend Jimmy White, insisted on Thursday that he was not aware of any plans O'Sullivan had to return to action.
White wrote on Twitter:
"Last time I spoke to Ronnie he wasn't going to play. I'd love him too but he has big plans away from snooker."
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