That’s the belief of tennis analyst and former WTA British No 1 Sam Smith, who expects Nadal was struggling with inflammation of the knee.
The Spaniard earned a gritty win over Karen Khachanov in the quarter finals, winning 7-6(2), 7-6(2) to set up a 39th career meeting with long-time rival Federer in the Californian desert.
A three-time winner at Indian Wells, Nadal was noticeably struggling in the second set and
But the 31-year-old fought through against up-and-coming Russian Khachanov in a thrilling two hours and 16 minutes.
That means Nadal and Federer will go head-to-head in the final four of the Masters 1000 in order to face either Milos Raonic or Dominic Thiem in Sunday’s final.
It is their first showdown since Shanghai 2017 – with Nadal having not won against the Swiss icon for five years, losing all of their last five clashes.
And Amazon Prime pundit Smith paid tribute to the sheer determination of Nadal to come through against Khachanov and insists he should be able to face Federer despite his problem provided he gets an injection.
Smith said: “One thing that he reminded us of – we talked about how wonderful his forehand is and all his other qualities – his ability to go through pain.
“That’s what he did throughout that second set, to just get on with it.
“I don’t believe that’s some terrible injury.
“To me it looks like again massive inflammation of the patella over the knee.
“Again it’s probably a case of having an injection and getting on with it again and playing through the pain tomorrow.
“I remember Bjorn Borg one won of his Wimbledons with a torn stomach muscle and had an injection almost before every match.
“Nadal is like any other player, even with the hands or fingers all taped, it’s like Borg and their ability to go through immense pain.”
Fellow Amazon Prime pundit Greg Rusedski added: “Amazing performance. We do hope he finds a way to have those injections and is ready to face Roger.
“But Roger will be very pleased he was pushed so hard.”