Ting on probation for unprofessional conduct

Updated: May 6, 2005, 4:58 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Barry Bonds' three recent knee operations were performed by a prominent doctor who has a history of trouble with state medical authorities.

Dr. Arthur J. Ting has been reprimanded twice by the Medical Board of California, and currently is on probation for unprofessional conduct. ESPN's Pedro Gomez first reported the story Wednesday.

Ting, the team physician for the NHL's San Jose Sharks who has treated many prominent Bay Area athletes, completed his first probation in 1998. Ting was placed on five years' probation on April 5, 2004, because of a second incident of unprofessional conduct, Gomez reported.

Ting has performed three operations on Bonds' troublesome left knee since January. On Monday, Ting performed an emergency surgery to clean out a bacterial infection in Bonds' knee, according to the San Francisco Giants slugger's Web site, where he releases the only available updates on his condition. Bonds also underwent knee surgeries on Jan. 31 and March 17.

Ting, in an interview on "The Dan Patrick Radio Show" on Friday, confirmed that he operated on Bonds on Monday and said he was supposed to meet with Bonds on Friday night. Bonds' injury is not career-threatening, Ting said.

"It's serious, but he's done as well as anybody could have post-operatively up until this point," Ting told Patrick. "We've got him on IV antibiotics, and the knee should be cured."

Ting said he's never prescribed steroids for Bonds but did prescribe anti-inflammatories, adding timetables that Bonds won't be ready to play for the Giants until mid-July are about right.

Ting has drawn the attention of medical authorities in recent years. According to documents obtained by the Arizona Republic, a complaint to the Medical Board of California in May 2003 alleged that Ting employed an unlicensed technician who saw patients and wrote prescriptions. Many patients believed the technician was a doctor.

The complaint also accused Ting of prescribing "dangerous drugs and controlled substances to friends and acquaintances, particularly athletes, for whom he kept no medical records or for whom the medical records were fictitious, inadequate or inaccurate."

No athletes' names are mentioned in the documents.

Ting signed an agreement with the board on Jan. 4, 2004, acknowledging he "was negligent in his supervision of subordinates," but he denied all other allegations in the complaint.

Ting was ordered to pay for the $15,000 investigation. The board revoked his license, but stayed the revocation while he served five years' probation.

Ting, according to information from the documents that was detailed in Friday's San Francisco Chronicle, issued prescriptions for hydrocodone (a narcotic analgesic), zolpidem (sold as the sleeping aid Ambien) and diphenoxylate/atropine (usually used to treat diarrhea) in 1999 to three men -- identified as A.T., C.E. and C.W. The men had the same listed address in Oakland, with birth dates listed as Jan. 1, Jan. 2 and Jan. 3 of 1955, according to the Chronicle.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has failed to identify the men or locate anyone at the address with those initials, the Chronicle reported.

Ting, who is not on the Giants' staff, did not return a call from the Chronicle. A medical board spokeswoman didn't return a phone call Thursday from The Associated Press. The Giants refused to comment.

Bonds's latest procedure likely will postpone his chase of Hank Aaron's career home run record at least until July, if he returns at all. Bonds has 703 homers, third in major league history behind Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).

His January procedure was a "minor arthritis cleanup," according to the Giants, to repair a small cartilage tear. At the time, team trainer Stan Conte said Bonds would be "competitive" within six weeks, but Bonds banged the knee days later and, in March, had surgery to clean out torn cartilage.

Last month, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Bonds still is working out with Greg Anderson, his childhood friend and personal trainer who's awaiting trial this fall in the BALCO steroids case. Anderson is accused of distributing performance-enhancing drugs to athletes.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.