Wow, it has pretty well all been said. As a 202, 282 and now a 252 owner I would however make a couple of observations.
It is a little concerning that there was no immediate recognition of the 252's capabilities when the OP first heard it. Having said that it does take time to settle in and it is very sensitive to set-up, although I acknowledge the OP has spent time on that. One thing I have noticed with the 252 is that it is very responsive to tweaks and upgrades in other parts of the system e.g. I have had significant uplifts in SQ from cable upgrading, particularly SuperLumina. This IMO is testament to the neutral, revealing and transparent nature of the 252.
As has been mentioned, there have been may comparisons between the 282 and 252, indeed I posted on the subject (at length!) sometime ago when I observed the 'grown up' nature of the 252 and likened the 282's exuberant character to an excited puppy, keen to make friends. Having owned both pre amps, I guess I 'grew out' of the 282 and 'grew in to' the 252. It was a process of gradually becoming a little less 'impressed' with the 282's…..err….impressiveness (although I do acknowledge this kind of necessary for rock) and becoming seduced by the musicality (sorry there's that meaningless adjective again but I can't think of any other one-word descriptor) of the 252. It is subtle, effortless, and yes, grown up.
But the OP may well prefer the 282. I loved it when I owned one, it is just that the puppy eventually had to go. It became too boisterous. One thing is for sure, the 282 (with a SuperCapDR in my case) is a perfectly fine partner for both the NDX and NDS. The 252 however seems to extract more from the NDS than the 282 did.
Anyway, I am not sure if any of this is at all helpful to the OP. All I would say is Drewy, I hope you recover from the accident quickly, enjoy your New Year's celebrations, take your time over the pre amp decision and enjoy the decision making process.