About one-third of the 150,000 ACL injuries in the United States each year are repaired. That means two-thirds (the majority of patients) don't have it fixed surgically. Those who don't opt for surgery have trouble staying active in sports and activities.
You have several choices. You can do nothing, let it heal, and see what happens. There are some problems with this choice. Without some treatment, the joint may not be able to hold up under unexpected loads or sudden movements.
You can try a rehab program to restore motion after the injury. It may be worth your time to do some exercises prescribed by the physical therapist. This strengthens your knee and may help prevent future injuries. It takes at least six to eight weeks of time and effort to do this. If you don't, you may be at risk for another (worse) injury later.
You can also talk to your doctor and let him or her know what you're thinking. The operation and rehab program could be modified to meet your needs and goals.