Originally Posted by TennezSport
Of course Rafa is rusty, no one can stay away from the game that long and then play at that old level; timing and reaction are off. However the bigger concern is that he is saying that the knee is still hurting. If you know anything about ligaments and joints they do not get better with play.
A surgeon from the area here told me that pain in a ligament or joint is telling you that something is not right. It's not like muscle pain from fatigue.
His only recourse may be an operation, which he does not want to do because he will lose speed; no doubt. He could come back to form but it will be how well he can manage the pain. Can only wait and see at this point.
Except it's not a ligament that has given him grief through the years - it's a tendon, which is quite different and also can't be easily repaired with surgery. A tendon is made up of many many ropey fibers unlike a ligament which is like a rubber band. The pain was expected but is supposed to lessen as he plays and builds up competition strength.