Today I got a call from the camera store which handled the repair case for me. Nikon repaired the lens and acknowledged the warranty case- I got the lens back without further comment.
I tried to inquire about the nature of the defect, but the repair protocol simply states “repair and adjust zoom mechanism”.
So whatever it was, it’s gone now. I hope that was it. On Sunday I am going out in the woods with a colleague taking photos, and I will share the pictures here on this blog, so stay tuned 🙂