SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Barry Bonds resumed rehabilitation exercises on his troublesome right knee Sunday after being cleared by several doctors to increase his activity level.

The 40-year-old San Francisco slugger is working to regain range of motion in his knee through light resistance exercises. He also went through some rehab work Saturday.

Bonds had an IV removed Wednesday, but is still taking oral antibiotics to fight an infection in the knee. He has undergone three arthroscopic operations since Jan. 31 and hasn’t played all season.

“We’re really upbeat about this whole thing,” Giants trainer Stan Conte said Sunday night. “It is encouraging because after the second surgery we weren’t sure why he wasn’t progressing.”

Bonds, transferred to the 60-day disabled list Friday, was cleared to do rehab exercises by Dr. Robert Armstrong and Dr. Arthur J. Ting, who performed the latest surgery May 2.

The procedure was necessary as doctors tried to clean out an infection, first draining fluids from his knee.

Bonds spent the weekend watching the Giants play the Oakland Athletics in the Bay Bridge Series.

He could be seen in the dugout for part of the Giants’ 3-1 win on Sunday night and he was upbeat at the ballpark Saturday for a statue dedication ceremony honoring Hall of Fame pitcher Juan Marichal.

The seven-time NL MVP still hopes to return this season, but it almost certainly will be sometime in July after the All-Star break.

He said in spring training he could miss half the season or even the entire year.

“We’re going to go slowly,” Conte said.

Bonds has 703 career home runs, 11 behind Babe Ruth and 52 from tying Hank Aaron’s career record. Bonds batted .362 last season with 45 homers and 101 RBIs and walked a major league-record 232 times on the way to his record seventh MVP award.

AP-ES-05-23-05 0000EDT

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