The effectiveness of phase contrast X-ray computed tomography (PCI-CT) in visualizing human patellar cartilage matrix has been demonstrated due to its ability to capture soft tissue contrast on a micrometer resolution scale. Recent studies have shown that off-the-shelf Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) features learned from a nonmedical data set can be used for medical image classification. In this paper, we investigate the ability of features extracted from two different CNNs for characterizing chondrocyte patterns in the cartilage matrix. We obtained features from 842 regions of interest annotated on PCI-CT images of human patellar cartilage using CaffeNet and Inception-v3 Network, which were then used in a machine learning task involving support vector machines with radial basis function kernel to classify the ROIs as healthy or osteoarthritic. Classification performance was evaluated using the area (AUC) under the Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curve. The best classification performance was observed with features from Inception-v3 network (AUC = 0.95), which outperforms features extracted from CaffeNet (AUC = 0.91). These results suggest that such characterization of chondrocyte patterns using features from internal layers of CNNs can be used to distinguish between healthy and osteoarthritic tissue with high accuracy.