The Charlotte Hornets’ season-long injury struggles continued Monday when the team announced starting center Cody Zeller was placed in the NBA’s concussion protocol.
Zeller missed Monday’s road game against the Chicago Bulls. There is no timetable for Zeller’s return to the active roster.
The Hornets said in a prepared statement that Zeller was struck in the head by an elbow late in Saturday’s home loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Zeller has taken several shots to the head this season. The most notable was when Atlanta Hawks center Dwight Howard elbowed him to the face Nov. 18. Howard drew an ejection for that act. He said it wasn’t intentional.
Zeller has played in 31 games this season, starting 29. He is having a career season in average points (10.7), rebounds (6.1), blocks (1.1) and shooting percentage (59.5 percent from the field).
The Hornets selected Zeller fourth overall in the 2011 draft. In October, he signed a four-season, $56 million contract extension to stay with the Hornets.
The Hornets have lost 36 player games this season, distributed between 12 unavailable players. The Hornets are also missing sixth man Marco Belinelli, who has missed several games with a sprained ankle.
Hornets coach Steve Clifford’s options to replace Zeller in the starting lineup would be Roy Hibbert or Spencer Hawes.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129; @rick_bonnell