That illegal drugs have played a significant role not only this time but that the dots have been connected - from the get go?
Even if it's ABSOLUTELY false, there can be little Nadal and his camp can produce that will make those insinuations disappear totally. Past recoveries may still be explained with being the beginning of the problem coupled with age and medical technology. But for Nadal to produce even the remotest semblance of his rampage this time - with BOTH Djokovic and Murray in full flight robbing the previous alibi of Federer being past his prime and the above two clowns were not ready then thereby allowing the past run to slide - will find no other road to go through but above.
The fact that it has taken this long for Nadal to even hint at returning, specially when compared to previous absences, is not helping steer the boat away from troubled waters either. With every passing day and with every withdrawal, the severity of the injury gets underscored even more, further reducing the credibility of a Nadal run - of any sort - without accusations, that is.
But if history is any proof, Nadal may be banking on poor fan memory, to get back on the tour AND dominate - by hook or by crook. Besides, there may be some salvation and forgiveness potion awaiting him past No. 17, if he can stand that long. Winning soothes everything - sometimes even glaring transgressions. And this one, you can bet, Tony and company WILL ensure is not only NOT glaring but highly disputable and ambiguous at best.
Additionally, Nadal JUST today is openly accused of ingesting PEDs and that noise will not lose any steam regardless of what happens moving forward. If that's a given, why not just go full blast with it and at least grab what you can in an attempt to mitigate some of the impact by force of numbers and stats - hopefully even tilt the scale significantly. I mean, if Nadal passes Sampras, forget Federer, on the Slam pole, even with just his exploits on surface called clay, he will have cast a shadow on the GOAT mantle, specially when that trophy is held by someone he has owned on ALL surfaces, forget about other factors like taming his 'Nadal' etc.
Translation: Nadal may be within his right to 'manipulate', specially when NO ONE is considered 'safe' from the PED accusation. I mean, what if ten years from now it's discovered that Federer, Djokovic and Murray were ALL juicing and Nadal did not take the step today. So it's worth the risk specially when the near-impossible fruit (GOAT) is hanging so low - for you. To make the proposition even more tempting, you are armed with a home base that nobody in the history of the sport has owned so exclusively. You can possibily ride just that pony to pass Sampras and then who knows if Djokovic and Murray get prone to injuries to allow you a free pass just as your own problems did for Federer.
Bottom line: Short of attaching a prosthetic leg, Nadal should go for whatever is on the table and let the chips fall wherever.