Doctor vows to 'shorten' Rafael Nadal's enforced absence after issuing injury update

Nadal's rib injury put his clay season participation into doubt, but his personal doctor has since offered hope of the Spaniard returning to fitness in time.

Rafael Nadal's personal doctor says they will "try to shorten" the length of his absence due to his rib injury.

Nadal has been in stunning form so far this season, bouncing back from a foot injury last year to start 2022 with a 20-match winning streak.

That streak came to a crushing end in the final of Indian Wells, where Taylor Fritz got the better of him.

However, Nadal was visibly struggling with injury, and called the physio onto the court at one point complaining of breathing difficulties.

Nadal's doctor, Dr Angel Ruiz Cotorro, has revealed the Spaniard suffered the injury in the semi-final against Carlos Alcaraz, and the specific injury was "a stress crack in the third left costal arch."

The initial diagnosis is four to six weeks on the sidelines, which comes as a bitter blow for Nadal given his beloved clay season is about to begin.

That timeframe would see him miss at least Monte Carlo and Barcelona, and likely Madrid too, but Cotorro says they have a plan and they may be able to shave some time off the original prognosis.

"We're going to adapt the work in function of the pain," Cotorro told RadiogacetaRNE. "For now, priority is to remove the pain. Once the pain's removed we'll be working as much as we can.

Rafael Nadal required medical treatment following breathing problems in the Indian Wells final

"With this in mind and the evolution it has, we'll see if we can shorten the time, although four to six weeks is quite logical."

After revealing the injury on social media, Rafael Nadal admitted his 'sadness' at the timing, saying: "This is not good news and I did not expect this.

"I am sunk and sad because after the start of the season I have had such a good time.

"I reached a very important part of the year with very good feelings and good results.

"But hey, I've always had that fighting and overcoming spirit and what I will do is be patient and work hard after my recovery."

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