Daily diary methods were used to examine changes in pain and negative mood over the first 6 weeks of rehabilitation after surgical reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Participants (58 men and 33 women) completed measures of personal factors (i.e., age, athletic identity, neuroticism, optimism) before surgery and indices of daily pain, negative mood, and stress for 42 days after surgery. Multilevel modeling revealed that, as would be expected, daily pain ratings decreased significantly over the course of the study and that the rate of decline in pain ratings decreased over time. Age and daily negative mood were positively associated with daily pain ratings. Daily negative mood also decreased significantly over the course of the study and was positively associated with neuroticism, daily pain, and daily stress. Athletic identity and optimism interacted with time since surgery in predicting daily negative mood such that participants with high levels of athletic identity and low levels of optimism reported greater decreases in daily negative mood over time. Overall, the findings reveal a pattern of improved psychological functioning over the early stages of post-operative ACL rehabilitation.