Doctor Dribbles at We Rite Goode (Right now, you're thinking there might be some credibility issues with this, right? Don't worry. This is good stuff.) is here to remind you that as scary as microfracture surgery is now, ACL surgery used to be just as bad. He has charts and numbers and everything to back up the claim.
If ACL is any guide, soon it'll be time to stop being so crazy afraid of microfracture. Doctor Dribbles writes:
And why has ACL reconstruction stopped setting off alarms? Because the more procedures they did, the docs gained experience and got better. (It's a proven medical fact.) The rehab programs grew more comprehensive and targeted. Not to mention, understanding spread that an injured player could make it back. (Another reason why, performance aside, Bernard King was a trailblazer.) ...
Back in the 1990s, fans and players were starting to rationalize and understand ACL reconstructions after 7-8 players returned; as we've surpassed that point with microfracture, it's time to do away with fears of it as a "death sentence." More importantly, for a procedure that's very much in progress (one recent major breakthrough was made because an athlete was too lazy to go to rehab--yet recovered faster and better), the first decade's outcomes have to be encouraging, as clinicians will only get better. Oden going under the knife isn't Penny in 1997 or 2001, nor even Allan Houston in 2004. And by the time that undetermined big man in 2012 needs microfracture--who knows how far along microfracture surgery will be ... or really, why we'll even bother with it, when we have stem cells.
Certainly worth reading the whole post -- the good doctor goes into a bunch of important caveats.