Acute cartilage injury can induce apoptosis, which can lead to osteoarthritis later on in life. Mechanical loading has been shown to halt IL-1 induced cartilage degradation. This study investigated the effect of mechanical loading on chondrocyte apoptosis following a mechanical injury. We analyzed 8 mm cartilage plugs harvested from the trochlea region of 3 porcine knees. We impacted the cartilage plugs using a drop tower to induce an injury response. Twentyfour hours after impaction the cells were analyzed for total number of chondrocytes, chondrocyte viability, and histology, which included apoptotic TUNEL staining. These results indicate that mechanical loading has a beneficial effect on injured cartilage and may be used as an early intervention to preserve cell viability.