Originally Posted by namelessone
Nope, that's when he broke down, that's not when the pain came back.
Both in 2009 and 2012 his problems started reappearing in the HC season before April. Nadal has physical problems in Rotterdam 09, in 2012 he started feeling pain since IW and even in 2010(a great year for him) he had knee problems in Miami.
On clay, he can go on painkillers and last longer because of the cushion of the surface, even if points are longer(though to be honest, today points are almost as long on HC as well). Even when Nadal is reasonably healthy, his knee problems always come back during hc season, especially when overplaying.
'Attrition' is Nadal's comfort zone most of the time which exacerbates his knee problems. Muzza, Djoko and especially Federer can rip winners without it looking like a huge physical effort as it seems to be for Nadal.