Facing a March trial on charges of lying to a federal grand jury and obstructing justice in the BALCO case, Barry Bonds must first recuperate from hip surgery.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported Thursday that Bonds, who has said he is not retiring and wants to play baseball again, underwent a hip procedure.
Bonds had the surgery with the intent of resuming his playing career this year, the Chronicle reported, citing a source familiar with the operation. With the start of spring training six weeks away, baseball's home run king would not be fully healed by then, but could be by Opening Day, the Chronicle reported.
Both Bonds' agent, Jeff Borris, and Dr. Arthur Ting, who performed the surgery, refused to comment when reached by the newspaper.
The 44-year-old Bonds, who has a MLB-record 762 home runs to his credit, last played in a major league game on Sept. 26, 2007, the end to his 15 years as a San Francisco Giant.
Back in October, the Major League Baseball Players Association said it had evidence that teams acted in concert against signing Bonds, but the union reached an agreement with commissioner Bud Selig's office to delay the filing of any grievance.
While waiting outside a Los Angeles restaurant on Dec. 15, Bonds told a cameraman for Web site TMZ.com that he is not retiring from the game, his first comments since a public appearance in October in San Francisco, at which he said he was enjoying life away from baseball.
"I had fun," Bonds said then, "but I like my freedom."
Bonds pleaded not guilty to 14 counts -- since reduced to 10 -- of making false declarations to a federal grand jury and one count of obstruction of justice, and his trial is scheduled to start March 2 in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. Bonds is accused of lying during 2003 grand jury testimony when he said he never knowingly used performance-enhancing drugs.