Bonds expected to recover fully by February

Updated: October 12, 2004, 6:05 PM ET
Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Tuesday and is expected to be at full strength when the San Francisco Giants open spring training in February.

The slugger underwent a 20-minute arthritis cleanup procedure performed by San Jose Sharks team physician Dr. Art Ting at the Fremont Surgery Center.

Bonds, 40, told the team he first felt pain Oct. 4, the day after the season ended, and he didn't want the injury to affect his offseason training.

Giants trainer Stan Conte said it would take three to six weeks for Bonds to rehabilitate the knee and he should be able to resume working out in November.

"It's very typical of a postseason cleanup procedure done in football at times," Conte said. "His cartilage inside the knee was perfect. This was simple wear and tear that was an irritant to him. What really precipitated doing this now is he did not want this to interfere with his workout program in November."

Bonds finished his 19th major league season with 703 career homers, pulling him within 11 of Babe Ruth for second place. He could pass Ruth's mark early next season and then turn his focus on Hank Aaron's record of 755.

Bonds had 45 homers and 101 RBIs this season and also walked a major league-record 232 times. He demonstrated his durability, playing in 147 games after playing only 130 last year, when he dealt with the death of his father. The Giants were in the playoff race until the final day of the season and finished one game behind Houston in the NL wild-card standings.

"In a perfect world, would I love to see Barry get more days off? Probably early in the season would be a good idea," Conte said. "But that probably is not necessary. He played (147) games and did pretty well from a medical standpoint."

Conte said Bonds' knee shows much less wear and tear than would be expected from a 40-year-old who has played 2,716 games in his career. He said he didn't know if the knee affected Bonds' play the final week of the season when he went 1-for-13.

"You would have to ask him," Conte said. "He told me he was feeling it a little bit but it was not a big deal. The day after the season it started bothering him a bit. He didn't indicate to me it was an issue at all during the season."

Bonds led the National League with a .362 average and .812 slugging percentage this season. He also set a major league record with a .609 on-base percentage.

Last month, the Giants decided to drop their right to void the final year of Bonds' contract, keeping him with the team through 2006.

Under the $90 million, five-year deal agreed to in January 2002, San Francisco could have voided the 2006 season if Bonds failed to reach 400 plate appearances next season.

Bonds also dealt with ongoing accusations of steroid use this season. His personal trainer and longtime friend, Greg Anderson, is one of four men charged in an alleged steroid-distribution ring that federal prosecutors say supplied dozens of professional athletes with banned substances. They have pleaded not guilty. Bonds has denied using performance-enhancing drugs.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press