Cavaliers rookie Tyler Zeller’s first NBA road trip has been ended by injury.
Zeller is returning to Cleveland for further evaluation after sustaining a concussion and broken cheekbone after being elbowed in the face by Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan on Monday night.
Zeller was hit under the left eye by Jordan with 5:39 left in the fourth quarter of Cleveland’s 108-101 win. X-rays taken after the game were negative, but a CT scan performed in San Francisco revealed a non-displaced fracture of his left orbital cheekbone. The first-round pick from North Carolina has been placed in the NBA’s concussion protocol process. He will have to be cleared by a league doctor before he can resume practicing or playing.
The Cavs said there is “no specific timeline” for Zeller’s return and that he will continue to be monitored and evaluated. The team said before Wednesday’s game against the Golden State Warriors that Zeller will travel back to Ohio for further evaluation at Cleveland Clinic Sports Health.
Before he got hurt, the 7-foot Zeller was having his best game as a pro. He scored a season-high 15 points with seven rebounds and two assists as the Cavs improved to 1-1 on their six-game trip. The Cavs play at Phoenix on Friday.
With Zeller sidelined, coach Byron Scott will likely use Samardo Samuels more at forward and center.