Scottsdale, AZ (Sports Network) - San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds returned to the team's spring training complex on Tuesday to begin rehab for his latest round of knee surgery and told reporters he could be sidelined until mid-season or could miss the entire 2005 campaign altogether.
"I'm just going to try to rehab myself back to...I don't know, hopefully next season, hopefully middle of the season, I don't know. Right now I'm just going to take things slow," Bonds said Tuesday with crutches in hand.
Bonds had an arthroscopic procedure on March 17 for a debridement of tears in the medial and lateral menisci of his right knee. It was the second operation on the knee in less than two months, as he also had a minor arthritis cleanup and small meniscus tear repaired on January 31.
Surgery was also performed on Bonds' left knee last October, and he has been under a microscope from the media during spring training because of the BALCO controversy and baseball's steroids frenzy.
"I'm tired, just tired," Bonds remarked with his son at his side. "I really don't have much to say anymore. My son and I are just going to enjoy our lives. My family's tired. You guys [media] wanted to hurt me bad enough, you finally got there."
Bonds' chase of the home run record will now have to wait. Last year he became the third player to reach the 700-club and his 703 career homers trail only Babe Ruth (714) and Hank Aaron (755) on the all-time list.
"I'm going to try to let myself heal, I'm 40 years old not 20 or 30," Bonds added. "I have a lot of work to do to try to get back for these guys [teammates]. I don't know if I'm going to be back yet."
The 40-year-old Bonds captured his seventh National League MVP award last season, hitting .362 with 45 homers and 101 runs batted in despite just 373 official at-bats. He broke his own major league record by walking 232 times.
Last weekend, the San Francisco Chronicle reported prosecutors in the BALCO case subpoenaed a former girlfriend of Bonds to testify before a federal grand jury. The newspaper reported the woman, Kimberly Bell, told the grand jury that in 2000 Bonds informed her he started taking steroids.
The Chronicle also reported that Bell also testified that in 2001, Bonds had given her $80,000 to make the down payment on a house for her in Scottsdale. The newspaper says Bell claims the money was earned from the sale of Bonds' autographed baseballs and other memorabilia.
Bonds' attorney, Michael Rains, told the newspaper that his client has never used banned substances, nor had Bonds ever given cash to Bell.
According to another published report by the Chronicle in December, Bonds had told a federal grand jury he admitted to using a clear substance and cream provided to him from his trainer, but said he didn't know they were steroids. Bonds testified before the grand jury in December 2003, and according to the report said that the substances were provided by his personal strength trainer, Greg Anderson. According to the testimony obtained by the Chronicle, Bonds said he was told the substances were the nutritional supplement flaxseed oil and a rubbing balm for arthritis.
Bonds describes he is mentally drained, being hurt mentally and physically and is also tired of his kids crying.
"You [media] wanted me to jump off the bridge, I finally have jumped," Bonds said during his interview on Tuesday. "You wanted to bring me down, you finally have brought me and my family down. You finally have done it. From everybody, all of you. Now go pick a different person."