When Ainge underwent surgery the other day the question was whether to repair or remove the damaged cartilage in his knee. Typically in athletes repairing damaged tissue or ligaments is clearly the the option taken by the orthopedic surgeon but in some instances intra-operative decisions need to be made as it appears in this case.
Repairing the cartilage is really no different than receiving "stitches" to close a laceration as you can see here and here.
The benefits to repairing the meniscus are two fold:
- maintains the the role of the meniscus as a shock absorber in the knee;
- reduces the risk of arthritis by keeping the femoral condyles from directly articulating (rubbing) against the tibia.
As was mentioned earlier doing this procedure would result in a longer rehab on the front end but better for Ainge in the long term. By removing the damaged portion of the Meniscus his rehab will be shorter because there is no repair to heal but the potential for arthritis is increased as Ainge gets older, potentially setting him up for a total knee replacement down the line.