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Bonds expected to recover fully by February

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.