Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) has offered great promise for the treatment of cartilage degradation, and has been proved to have positive effects on the restoration of cartilage lesions. But no comparative work has been done between PRP and hyaluronate acid (HA) concerning their restoring effect on cartilage defect, especially by means of animal experiments and histologic assessments. The purpose of the study was to compare the therapeutic effects of P-PRP and HA on osteoarthritis in rabbit knees. Thirty rabbits were used to establish the animal models by creating a cartilage defect of 5 mm in diameter on the condyles of the femurs, and were randomly divided into three groups: the P-PRP group, HA group and the control group. Then each group was treated with P-PRP, HA or saline solution, respectively. Six and twelve weeks later the rabbits were sacrificed and the samples were collected. The platelet number, the concentrations of growth factors of P-PRP and whole blood, and the IL-1β concentration in the joint fluid were investigated, and the histological assessment of the cartilage were performed according to Mankin\'s scoring system. Micro-CT was also used to evaluate the restoration of subchondral bone. The platelet concentration in P-PRP is 6.8 fold of that in the whole blood. The IL-1β level in the P-PRP group was lower than in the HA group (p<0.01) and in the control group (p<0.01). The restoration of the defected cartilage as well as the subchondral bone was better in the P-PRP group than in the HA group or the control group (P<0.05). Our data showed that P-PRP is better than HA in promoting the restoration of the cartilage and alleviating the arthritis caused by cartilage damage.