Bonds continues on antibiotic regimen

Updated: May 20, 2005, 9:44 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

DENVER -- They are into Week 7 of life without Barry. And the San Francisco Giants still have no answer to the question that won't go away:

Barry Bonds
AP Photo/Ben MargotBonds could be coming back in August, or September, or sometime in 2006.

When is Barry Bonds coming back?

ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reports there is no answer to that question because Bonds' rehab remains on indefinite hold as his doctors continue to fight a post-operative infection in his right knee.

Bonds' condition was serious enough that he spent two weeks receiving antibiotic treatments through an IV, and was advised by doctors to remain as immobile as possible. The Associated Press reported that Bonds was allowed to stop the IV treatments as of Wednesday, but he will continue to take antibiotics orally until doctors are convinced his infection is gone.

"As of today, Barry Bonds is no longer on IV antibiotics," Giants trainer Stan Conte said Wednesday. "This allows Barry to be a little more mobile, he has been pretty much stationary because of the IV. ... It's still important to keep a close check on the infection and make sure that it is totally eradicated."

There is no answer to when Bonds might return because he is no longer dealing with the aftermath of "just" a baseball injury or "just" a knee operation. He is dealing with a potentially serious post-operative infection that left him essentially immobilized for an extended period. Still, some close to Bonds contend he is fine.

"Barry's doing great," Bonds' spokeswoman Rachael Vizcarra said. "The IV antibiotic is very standard. He's not on it any longer, and he's progressing very well. He really wants to get back to his teammates."

Bonds will be at SBC Park on Friday, for a meeting with his doctors and the Giants' training staff. The purpose of that meeting is to gauge Bonds' progress and to figure out where he goes from here.

But there appears to be no timeline for Bonds' rehab, because right now, there is no rehab. Bonds' case is in the hands of Dr. Robert Armstrong, an infectious disease specialist. And that won't change until Dr. Armstrong is certain the infection is completely absent.

That could be a matter of days, but it also could be a matter of weeks. Infections to the knee are particularly precarious -- because of the risk of infection to the bone itself -- and it's believed that Bonds' medical team plans to be extra cautious before deciding to clear him to resume his rehab.

By then, however, Bonds might be so weakened by several weeks of nearly total immobility that his rehab almost certainly will be significantly longer than the normal four-to-six-week schedule that faces most patients following arthroscopic knee surgery.

So when is Bonds coming back? It isn't even worth guessing, because there is literally no one who knows the answer.

ESPN.com senior writer Jayson Stark and The Associated Press contributed to this report.