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Cody Zeller placed in NBA’s concussion protocol

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2016 took another one...Zeller will not play Monday night against the Bulls.

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Charlotte Hornets Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

We’re two days into the new year, yet early Monday afternoon news broke that 2016, the Grim Reaper itself, took yet another victim.

Cody Zeller was placed on the NBA’s concussion-protocol and will almost certainly be unavailable for tonight's game against the Chicago Bulls. There is no timetable for his return.

Not a great start to 2017.

The injury came in the closing minutes of the Charlotte Hornet’s New Years Eve matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers. With the Cavaliers leading 114-104 in the final minutes of a still winnable game, Kevin Love crashed into the lane chasing his own rebound and went up and into the head of Zeller with a Macho Man Randy Savage flying-elbow that crumpled the Hornet’s big man. Zeller was tied up with with Tristan Thompson under the boards, and Nicolas Batum missed a crucial box out on Love, leaving the weak side of the glass- and Zeller’s face- completely exposed.

Cant pin this all on Nic Batum; defensive lapses are going to happen from time to time. Still, let this be a lesson, kids: BOX OUT. It could save your friends head.

No word yet on how serious the injury is or how many games could be missed, but any time missed by Zeller is a huge blow to this team right now. Cody has been amazing this year, and a huge factor in the Hornets success.

Of course, if you had to choose one Hornet to get this type of injury, it would be Zeller. If you asked me to describe his game the first thing I would say is “Tough as Hell.” Hopefully this is just a proactive, cautionary measure by the Hornets and Zeller will be back soon.