Rafael Nadal cannot risk further injury to his knee by returning to tennis for the last part of the season, which is why he would be smart to take some more time off and return to the sport in 2013.
He recently spoke about his injury via the Telegraph.
"Impossible, no. But difficult, yes," Nadal said when asked whether he would make a comeback before the end of the season.
"I can imagine when I come back I will need time to practice and practice more and more every day, maybe that will take a month-and-a-half.
"The most important thing is to continue with the treatment ... when I don't feel nothing, hopefully that will happen soon, I will come back on the tennis court."
There are no more Grand Slam tournaments for him to win in 2012, and there's no chance that he could recapture the No. 1 ranking if he came back.
Nadal has very few reasons, if any, to force himself back onto the court before the Australian Open in January. We have seen too many players in tennis, and in other sports, return from injury earlier than expected and still have problems.
Should Nadal return to tennis before 2013?
Knee problems are very serious, especially for players who use their athleticism and quickness to gain an advantage over their opponents, like Nadal does. Without two healthy knees, Nadal would be much easier to defeat—even on clay.
For Nadal to get his career back on track and have a chance to add to his Grand Slam Singles titles, he must be fully healthy when he returns to real competition, whether that's in Melbourne or not.
Nadal is only 26 years old, and if he wants to play another four or five successful years without having to deal with injuries, he should not come back to tennis this season.
Not playing tennis regularly must be frustrating for Nadal, but it's important for him to understand that coming back from his knee injury too early could ruin the rest of his great career.