Clover has had both of his CCLs repaired.
I tried conservative therapy for the first knee - crate rest and anti-inflammatories. After a month I saw absolutely no improvement and he had a "traditional" repair. Seven months later he ruptured the second knee and he had surgery within a week.
The first knee was over 2 years ago and the second will be 2 years in July. Even though Clover is older (almost 15) he runs, jumps on the sofa, dances on his hind legs. Well before the surgery, he'd stopped standing on his hind legs; obviously that knee bugged him for awhile. I suspect he partially tore it in agility years before, and then finally tore it through.
Every once in awhile, usually after an extra active day, Clover limps a bit on the knee I waited to do surgery on - the vet says it seems to have developed more arthritis. The other one is perfect.
I spoke with two three vets about Clover's knee. My general practitioner vet felt that his knee was unstable enough that he really did need surgery. She recommended an orthopedic surgeon, and he wanted to do a TPLO (a more invasive, more expensive option is more akin to a knee replacement) and would "settle" for a traditional repair. I recalled my old vet (I moved but he was still only a little over an hour away) did surgeries even though he was a GP. He also recommended surgery, but recommended a traditional repair (basically string some sutures to stabilize the knee while the body heals around it and stabilizes it). He had been doing 1-3 of these a week for 20 years. He felt that TPLOs were better suited for larger dogs, or those who were truly professional athletes (agility trials every weekend vs. trials every few weeks).
I opted for the traditional with my old vet, as this was the option I felt most comfortable with. Additionally, my GP vet quoted at $1000-1500 and the orthopedic guy quoted $1500-2000 for the SAME surgery. Although I would have paid more if I thought I was getting a better care at the orthopedic, I DO think it's worth talking to a few vets and getting a few quotes.
Although I'm never, ever one to rush into surgery, my vet made the point: you can do six weeks of rest, have it not work and need surgery, then do six MORE weeks of rest, at which point your dog is confined for three months.
Clover absolutely needed surgery both times (surgeon said his CCLs had simply dissolved) and is doing great. I blogged about his second surgery, you can start here and read on: http://cloversknee.blogspot.com/2010/06/crap.html
No matter what you decide, I wish you a lot of luck! I'm not on this forum very often but feel free to email me if you have more questions. My email is my user name (Narwyn) at gmail.com