I just had a ulna shortening and recovering now. My surgeon told me the original cartiledge doesn't regenerate. After my wrist injury three years ago I had a cast, took celebrex, wore a brace all the time but none of that helped and finally I decided to go with the surgery. By then my wrist was in pretty bad shape, the cartilage was pulled off and getting pinched by the bones. The surgeon said my wrist may not have the same strength again as I had before but I should be pain free.
So my advice is it doesn't get better even if you can tolerate the pain. Continually using it would do more damage to the cartilage. So sooner the better.