That he is NOT returning pre-maturely? That he has exhausted ALL avenues to return with sufficient physical juice?
Either that or the injury was so severe that it DID require this long a break - and more - and Nadal is still rushing it for obvious reasons?
Given his track record with this injury in the past and the very real possibility of the entire career coming to an end, it's reasonable to assume the former scenario, don't you think?
To miss Olympics where he was supposed to carry the freaking flag, US Open, WTF and now Australian Open, considering his age and the mileage, requires some serious decision which, with Tony and company at hand, is not likely to have been made with just the short term goals in mind.
Sure the 'misses' ALL comprising of a surface not called red doesn't hurt either.
So IF Nadal HAS done diligent work - both on and off the practice courts - AND will be landing MOSTLY on clay, it's possible that Nadal could be able to pick up where he left off AT LEAST on his favorite surface. Psychologically, he would be at his MOST perfect spot. He has given more than ample time for recovery AND is now at his home that's so exclusive that no one in the history of the sport can match it - ANYWHERE.
Will all that be enough? Maybe, maybe not, BUT it would be the MOST effective route for this kind of return thereby eliminating all 'what ifs' and 'buts'. If it doesn't work, this was his ONLY choice and that 'no option' choice could mitigate some of the pain if he fails. Contrast that to returning at say US Open or even the Australian Open EVEN if he was 'ready'. There would have been so many intangibles teaming up with the tangibles to make the bad look worse and good look mundane.
By returning or attempting to peak for the clay season, Nadal may be able to mend his physical ailment by forcing the psyche to intervene. It has been done before - many many times.
Translation: It's a colossal opportunity for Nadal - with very little expectations - to tilt the balance from the other side. It's all win-win. If Nadal is able to somehow turn this around one more time AND deal with both Djokovic and Murray, even on clay, forget about other surfaces, he will have reinforced his legacy as one of the most tenacious player the sporting world has ever seen.
Both Djokovic and Murray are coming in with TONS of momentum. To just trouble them today, given that you are just taking off from base camp, would be impressive. To win a Slam, even Roland Garros, would be colossal. Anything beyond that would be just mind boggling.
So the situation is loaded with immense opportunity. Can Nadal capitalize on the underdog status he has always sought throughout his career - and win?