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Kevin Love has been placed in the NBA’s concussion protocol

Love was elbowed in the face on Tuesday and continued exhibiting concussion-like symptoms on Wednesday

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Miami Heat Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Love exited the Cavaliers’ awful 19-point loss to the Heat in the second quarter after he got inadvertently elbowed in the face while attempting to take a charge. Now, he has been placed in the NBA’s concussion protocol and will miss Wednesday’s game against Charlotte.

The attempted charge was against Miami big man Jordan Mickey early in the first quarter, but he got cracked in the mouth by Mickey’s elbow. The impact dislodged Love’s front tooth. He left the game and never returned.

The Cavaliers later announced they held Love out in the second half after he showed signs of a concussion. They will re-evaluate him Wednesday morning to determine if he needs to enter the NBA’s concussion protocol.

According to the NBA’s concussion policy summary, a player who is diagnosed with a concussion cannot return to any type of basketball activity that day or the day after. He must then pass a series of requirements, including being free of concussion-related symptoms while resting, an examination by a physician, completing the league’s rigorous return to participation exertion protocol, then being signed off on by the director of the NBA concussion program.

It’s a necessary set of steps to ensure a player is free of concussion symptoms.

But for the Cavaliers, this is awful timing

The Cavs literally just got Love back from a broken finger a few games ago, and they need him and his production as they attempt to bounce back from a horrendous first two-thirds of the season. Cleveland is at an unheard of No. 3 seed in the East with a real shot at falling below Philadelphia for fourth place.

Welcoming Love — a walking double-double and inside-outside scoring threat — was expected to help offset some of Cleveland’s struggles. But if it turns out he indeed has a concussion, they could lose him for a few more games, and the Cavaliers can’t afford to lose anymore.

At this point, we have no idea what the severity of Love’s injury is. All we know is his front tooth was dislodged and he exhibited concussion-like symptoms at halftime. Love has suffered a concussion in the past, and once you suffer one concussion, you’re more susceptible to future ones.

For his sake, and Cleveland’s, hopefully that isn’t the case.