Originally Posted by Desertman
True, but he will take the position of the No.3 seed in the draw and position in the draw is critical.
how on earth would that be true?
this is crap. he is allowed to enter via special exemptions, usually each tournament has 1-2 positions reserved for that. this is not a wild card too.
the tournament seeding wil be according to the ranking and this has nothing to do with his preserved ranking.
you can go and check it for example in the draw of the AO 2011:
edit: and here is the official version
What is a protected ranking and who is eligible?
A. A player may petition the Executive Chairman & President for an Entry Protection when he is physically injured and does not compete in any tennis event for a minimum period of six months. The written petition must be received within six months of his last tournament.
The Entry Protection shall be a position in the South African Airways ATP Rankings, as determined by the player's average South African Airways ATP Rankings position during the first three months of his injury. The Entry Protection shall be for entry into the main draw or qualifying competition or for special exempt consideration. The Entry Protection shall not be used for seeding purposes, Lucky Loser consideration or for entry into the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
The Entry Protection shall be in effect for either the first nine tournaments that the player competes in using the Entry Protection (excluding wild cards and entries as a Direct Acceptance with his current position in the South African Airways ATP Rankings) or for the period up to nine months beginning with the first tennis event that the player competes in, whichever occurs first.