Barry Bonds doesn't expect to play this season because of his injured right knee, putting the San Francisco slugger's quest for the career home run record on hold until at least 2006.

He currently is in third place with 703 home runs, trailing Babe Ruth (714) and Hank Aaron (755).

"I don't think you're going to see me out there this year," Bonds told MLB.com on Monday. "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."

Bonds said a recent MRI exam showed some fluid building up in the knee that has been operated on three times since Jan. 31. He said his doctors advised him to wait until next year to return to the Giants.

"He has not informed the Giants of that decision," assistant general manager Ned Colletti said.

Phone messages left for Bonds's publicist, Rachael Vizcarra, and Giants General Manager Brian Sabean weren't immediately returned.

Recently, Bonds was more optimistic of a return. On his personal Web site two weeks ago, Bonds wrote that he was hopeful he could return in September.