I am getting ACI (aka Carticel) done within the next month... waiting for insurance coverage and what not and then they will begin to grow my cells. I had the biopsy done two weeks ago. I was a college basketball player at the D2 level. I underwent 8 knee surgeries and multiple injections before getting to the point where I needed ACI. The biopsy put me at 9 knee surgeries (7 on my left, two on my right- 3 of which were ACL reconstructive surgeries). I am 23 years old. The reason my doctor and I have decided to go forward with this procedure is because I have two defects: one on my femur (I think the medical term is lateral femoral condyle) and a defect on the back of my knee cap as well. The injections I was receiving (orthovisc/synvisc-1) stopped working... I just have too much damage at this point. The injections helped reduce my pain for about 3 years (I was receiving them twice a year). They really worked and helped me to continue playing ball somewhat pain free. Without them I was in tremendous pain and now I am dealing with that pain again. Things like walking for more than 20 minutes, holding my neice standing up for more than 20 minutes, etc. caused me intense pain. I am unable to get through one day without knee pain. I am not a doctor/nurse/surgeon so cannot tell you whether or not trying to play or delaying the ACI procedure would cause you more harm. What I will ask you is have you talked to you doc. about synvisc-1 injections? Perhaps he/she believes too much damage has been done to give those injections a try. But it is worth asking. They helped me tremendously. Lastly I will say this, having been a college athlete and having pushed through knee surgery after knee surgery (and my doctor tried time and again to get me to rethink whether or not I should continue putting myself through it all- and finally my senior year told me he would not clear me to play), I look back now and wish I had just stopped. I am SO young and looking at such an invasive procedure in my near future. I placed myself on a path leading to osteoarthritis. I know how hard it is to quit and put your sport behind you, especially when you are so passionate about it, but take care of YOU. Years down the road when you have kids and a family, you want to be able to do things with them and not be on the side lines 24/7 because of your knee. Again, I am no doctor, just wanted to share my experiences with you. If there is anything else I can help you with, let me know!