IMHO, I would get it fixed- the sooner the better,(if you rehab fall/ winter you will probably be able get some spring turns in) just make sure and research not just a decent surgeon, but a damn good, reputable one that hooks up the us ski team or something....
as far as the injury is concerned, some people may be able to 'self heal' or whatever, but i would just add all that on to post surgery physical rehabilitation (glucosamine, arnica salve topically, and be sure to do at least @ six weeks of rehab with a therapist).
they have to do the surgical procedure (scope) just to look and see what is exactly wrong, so it's better to have just one appointment with the knife.... (getting scoped is about as minimally invasive as surgery gets, besides microsurgery or whatever crazy stuff they're doing with lasers these days) its three small inscisions: on each side of your knee, and somewhere in the middle, and they stick all the tools in therough there. a pencil sized tube with a video camera, a scalpel/ dremel thing inside of it, and a little vacuum to suck the floaties out.)
i have had both knees scoped after 15 yearsof snowboarding and all the other fun stuff we all do, (-until the late twenties when the feeling of invincibility subsides) looking out for the long haul and being able do this shit for the rest of forever is where it's at. chronic injuries suck- you don't want to tear more meniscus by trying to hobble it and maintain.excercising normally on an injury degrades the inside of your knee, and you definitely need that padding.(your own hopefully) leave the bionic stuff for the future, when its more established.
the first time i tore meniscus, i landed wrong off a 25-30 foot cliff (bad 16 y/o's judgement- just cause there was 3 feet of powder didn't make the landing any less flat-) that was in january, and i couldn't deal with bieng out for the rest of the season, so i rode it out, and my knee would pop, and lock up when i would move it wrong- laterally (not playing hackey sack or any squat type movements is a good idea for a while) i got surgery in april, and they took out 30% of the meniscus in my right knee. (it would have been less had i not rode all spring) the second time was coming up a foot short on a crappy gap jump at Ice-dora in 2000, but my left knee had been hurting all season (probably from favoring the other one). they took 10% out of that knee,cause i got fixed right away, out for the rest of the ski season.(apparently 00-01 was a an excellent winter snow-wise. my friends would tell me about it every day.
) by spring i was back on the river, guiding our bigger boats with 7 and 8 loads of the usual moderately plump (ha.) tourists on big water (for NM.) i made full recoveries from both surgeries and am glad i did it.
a good friend blew out his knee in CB like seven years ago, and never budgeted surgery, and it is definitely chronic for him- til he makes that appointment. granted he is a nut, climbing 15000 ft peaks in nepal, doing the rest of the trek in flip flops, snowboarding with a brace since he can't alpine, and climbing 5.12 (which i can't do even with two good knees). he goes for months just fine, hiking with a full trad rack,and rope in his pack, or a kayak or whatever, but all it takes is one wrong move, or jumping off of something, and he is out for 3 weeks, hobbled.
anyway i have been tele skiing 90% of the time for the last three winters, with full range of movement, even though i can't get super low all the time or any thing, but i'm not a badass like that anyhow (and hips below your knees is a another way to blow 'em out). and kayaking isn't an issue at all except squeezing into a playboat- but that is normal trauma...
my surgery was done by orthopedic associates of NM here in Santa Fe- they are very experienced with sports medicine, and i think two of tem are even endurance athletes or something. (not that there isn't loads of good surgeons in CO- theres got to be with that many more skiers than down here.)
i'd say the sooner you get it over with the sooner you'll be back on the hill and onthe rio....
i guess thats @ a dollar fiddy worth of my two cents.
btw, i dont work for a surgeon or anything, just a paramedic student who is grateful to be able to stay sane and do the sports that i love to do, however irregular it may be right now.