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Here's some interesting information from the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. Data presented at the AOSSM annual meeting in 2010 showed that transplanting new bone and cartilage into an injured knee allowed all 25 adults studied to resume a minimum of light jogging or cycling an average of four years after surgery.
The knee surgery, called an osteochondral allograft transplantation, is performed when the knee loses chunks of bone and cartilage due to a direct impact injury. The symptoms are pain and locking of the knee.
Individuals with a congenital bone disease called osteochondroitis dissecans can develop similar symptoms, and they can also be treated with a knee tissue transplant. Recovery from the surgery takes 3 to 6 months.
This study is the first to suggest that the transplant alone is enough to repair damage to the knee bone and cartilage, and that athletes might be able to fully resume their sports. Larger studies are needed, but I think there is reason to be optimistic.