There has been a lot of press about famous AFL football stories and return from ACL injury. However be careful with following that as gospel. The player may have had only a partial tear which can be rehabilitated quickly with no surgery. Or alternatively a player could have co-existing articular cartilage and meniscus injury which would mean the recover would be a lot longer.
A better way of approaching ACL recovery is key performance indicators rather than time frames. There will be a natural ‘Mother Nature’ healing time frame for the graft to regenerate its own blood supply however if you can tick off certain protocols then you will be safer when you return to sport.
Return to sport in the usual 9 months for non change of direction and cutting sports and 12 months for change of direction sports is a guide. Any return earlier is associated with a higher risk of re-injury or occurrence of other associated injuries such as Patella Femoral Pain (particularly for a Patella tendon graft) or hamstring injury or tendonopathy (particularly for a hamstring graft).