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In conclusion, in this meta-analysis of 2549 athletes, cartilage restoration surgery had a 76 % return to sport at mid-term follow-up. Osteochondral autograft transfer offered a faster recovery and appeared to have a higher rate of return to preinjury athletics, but heterogeneity in lesion size, athlete age, and concomitant surgical procedures are important factors to consider when assessing individual athletes. This study reports on the rate of return to sport