Bonds dealing with bone chips in elbow

Bonds dealing with bone chips in elbow

LOS ANGELES -- As if he doesn't have enough problems right now, San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds said Friday night that he has "10 to 12 bone chips floating" in his left elbow, which he revealed is swollen "almost twice the size" of his other elbow.

"I'm going to keep playing until it blows up," Bonds said in an exclusive interview with prior to the Giants game against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. "If I have to have a procedure, then I'm done. Finished. That would be it."

Last month, Bonds said he felt his elbow pop during a Spring Training batting-practice session at Scottsdale Stadium. He underwent an MRI and was examined at the time by Dr. Ken Akizuki, the Giants orthopedic surgeon, and Dr. Lewis Yocum, the Giants' and Angels' orthopedic specialist, who oversaw Bonds' recovery from last year's three surgeries on his right knee.

The Giants said Bonds was diagnosed with inflammation in the elbow, and Bonds missed about a week of action. On Friday, head trainer Stan Conte acknowledged that the inflammation was caused by bone chips in the elbow. Conte was able to speak about the injury after getting clearance from Bonds, who controls his own flow of medical information to the media, the trainer said.

"He does have bone chips," Conte said. "We knew that after he took the MRI during Spring Training. He does have it, and he's going to have intermittent discomfort with that. A lot of players have those. We know from Spring Training that he gets irritated from time to time. There's nothing we can do except keep an eye on it."

Bonds said after he was sidelined by the inflammation that he had bone chips in the elbow, but didn't delve into the extent of the problem until Friday night.

"It's the truth," he said. "I'm going to play with it, too."

Conte said the probability wasn't likely of Bonds needing surgery to remove bone chips from the elbow of his throwing arm.

"Hypothetically speaking, sometimes we take a look at that if it becomes a big issue," Conte said. "Typically, it would happen in the offseason, if at all possible, but they don't necessarily have to come out."

Bonds, who will be 42 on July 24, has wavered about whether he plans to return next season. But he has said definitively that he won't return if he's unable to physically play at his accustomed level. It is unlikely he would have that type of surgery during the offseason to play in 2007, Bonds said.

The elbow injury is just one more impediment in the lefty-swinging left fielder's historic run at the all-time home run record. Since the start of Spring Training, he has been coping with a right knee that is void of cartilage and meniscus. To help support the knee, Bonds has been using a flexible knee brace that he says has been hindering his forward motion in the batter's box as he swings.

He was planning on trying a different brace during batting practice Friday night, but he hadn't jumped into the cage before rain led to the grounds crew covering the infield with a tarpaulin, chasing the Giants into the clubhouse.

Bonds has opened the season batting .188 (3-for-16) with a double. He drove in his first run with a single during Thursday's 5-3 victory over the Houston Astros in the first game of a day-night doubleheader at San Francisco.

Bonds has yet to hit a homer, and at 708 in his career, is still six behind Babe Ruth's 714 and 47 shy of Hank Aaron's all-time leading 755, although he did hit two shots to the fence at AT&T Park on Thursday.

Bonds said the knee was "so-so" on Friday. When asked about the elbow, he said it was bothering him.

"Take a look at it," he said. "Look how swollen it is. Look at the other one. It's twice the size. I have 10 or 12 bone chips floating in it. That's the way it goes. If it isn't one thing, it's another."

Off the field, Bonds has been plagued with constant reminders of his alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs, creating a media circus following the team.

A book entitled "Game of Shadows" detailed Bonds' alleged use of steroids during a five-year period beginning in 1999. Commissioner Bud Selig followed the release of the book by commissioning an investigation of past steroid use in baseball, headed by Sen. George Mitchell. And on Thursday, a story broke that a federal grand jury has been impaneled in San Francisco to determine whether Bonds committed perjury during his 2003 grand jury testimony regarding an investigation into the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO).

On Friday, Bonds again fended off attempts by the media to question him about the latest revelations.

"A couple of people have asked me," Bonds said. "But it's the same old story. No comment."

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