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Bonds: Don't expect me this season


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Bonds: Don't expect me this season

Slugger focused on strong return to action in 2006

By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com


Heeding the advice of the Los Angeles doctors who have been overseeing rehabilitation on his right knee for the past six weeks, San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds told MLB.com on Monday that he does not foresee playing again this season.


Bonds had been hoping that he'd return to the field sometime in September, especially if the Giants remain in the National League West race. But he said a recent MRI showed he's still slightly building fluid in a knee that has been scoped three times since Jan. 31, causing intermittent swelling.


"I don't think you're going to see me out there this year," Bonds said during a telephone interview. "That's the reality of the situation. I'm improving. I'm happy with the progress. I'm working out hard on the exercise bike and the elliptical machine, but I'm just not there yet. The last thing I want is to get back on the field and be out again a week later.


"The doctors say it's wise for me to work out hard this winter and be ready to go next season. I want to be out there and play the whole year."


Bonds said he doesn't consider this to be a setback. He had hoped for recovery too quickly, considering the fact that he's had three surgeries in succession during a four-month period: Jan. 31, March 17 and May 2. The first two were to shave meniscus from the arthritic knee. The last eradicated a serious bacterial infection that put his leg in jeopardy.


He has responded to therapy, but evidently not quickly enough for him to return to field this season. At 41 years old, he will have missed an entire season for the first time in his 20-year big-league career.


"I'm just going to listen to what the doctors tell me," Bonds said. "The doctors are telling me to let it heal, so I'm going to let it heal."


Bonds has been rehabbing his knee at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic on the west side of Los Angeles under the care of physical therapist Clive Brewster and Angels orthopedist Dr. Lewis Yocum since June 24. He hasn't been with the team since then.


Bonds said last month that there is "no doubt in my mind whatsoever" that he will return to fulfill the last year of his contract in 2006. The Giants guaranteed that portion of his deal for $18 million late last season after Bonds became the third player in Major League history to hit his 700th homer.


He reiterated that position Monday.


"That's what my goal is right now and I expect to be ready," he said. "But the doctors are telling me playing this year might put that in jeopardy, that I could undo any gains I've already made. No matter how much I want to play, I'm not going to let that happen."


Bonds hasn't played since the final game of the 2004 season, having ended the year with 703 homers, 11 behind Babe Ruth's 714 and 52 behind Hank Aaron's 755. He worked out on the field at Scottsdale Stadium during Spring Training and took several rounds of batting practice before succumbing to more knee surgery. Aside from playing a little soft toss at SBC Park, he hasn't been back on the field since.


Bonds said he traveled to San Francisco last week and was administered the MRI by Dr. Arthur Ting, the presiding surgeon on each of his recent knee procedures. Bonds said the swelling in the knee fluctuates.


"It can be fine when I'm working out," he said. "Then I don't work out, wake up in the morning and my knee is swollen again. The doctors tell me it's all normal stuff for someone who has had three surgeries on the same knee in such a short period of time."


The Giants, meanwhile, are clinging to the division race, 5 1/2 games behind the Diamondbacks and Padres, even though they are 14 games under .500 with 58 games left to play.


Bonds said it is frustrating to sit on the sideline while the team for which he has played since 1993 tries desperately to hang in contention.


"I know I could help if I was out there," he said. "This is my life. This is my career -- on the baseball field. But right now, I can't help and it's killing me."


Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


hmmmmmm :mischief2

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I dont think ole Barroid will ever break 20 again, even in a full season. In fact, I wouldn't be suprised if he doesn't come back at all. You know it's one of those things where MLB has probably found a positive test, but is saying "just go away and we wont say anything *giggle giggle* like 10 year old girls playing truth or dare. It will help with preventing the "you're only doing this to Barry because he was black" and "your just media out to get the black man" backlash that would surely follow a positive Barry test. He is the biggest racist I have ever seen.

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