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Ante Zizic placed in NBA’s concussion protocol, ruled out for Cavs-Pistons

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Zizic was struck in the face Thursday night in New York.

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at New York Knicks Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

After suffering contact to the head late in the Cavs’ win over the Knicks Thursday night, Ante Zizic has been placed in the NBA’s concussion protocol. The Cavs announced on Friday in a press release that Zizic, who has started at center in recent games, is out for the team’s game against the Pistons on Saturday. No firm timeline was given for his return.

Zizic left the game with 24.3 seconds left after the incident. By the time the Cavs’ locker room closed, he was still being evaluated, according to the team.

Considering it’s a concussion, there should be no rush to bring Zizic back. But he has been playing well of late and looked good as the team’s starting center, so it’s frustrating to see the 22-year-old’s progress halted due to an injury.

For the year, Zizic is averaging 7.1 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. In four games since the All-Star break — all starts — Zizic is averaging 11.3 points and seven rebounds per game.

With Zizic out, it’s unclear exactly who will start for him at center. Larry Nance Jr. is the likely choice, but if Tristan Thompson is able to play this weekend, he would be another option. And considering the Pistons start a frontcourt of Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond, it’s unlikely that Larry Drew will go with a smaller lineup where Kevin Love plays the five with Cedi Osman or David Nwaba at the four.