Raptors head coach Dwane Casey, right, reacts after Pelicans Anthony Davis collides with Raptors Kyle Lowry during the second half of the NBA game at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017. Toronto Raptors win 125 - 116.

Advocate Staff photo by SOPHIA GERMER

Anthony Davis left the court early in the third quarter to enter the NBA’s concussion protocol and missed the remainder of the game.

The New Orleans Pelicans’ All-NBA forward received a blow to his forehead when trying to defend Nikola Jokic early in the third quarter of Friday’s game against the Denver Nuggets.

Jokic attempted a spin move on the baseline, but was called for an offensive foul when the back of his head flung into the front of Davis’ face. Davis hit the ground in a heap, spending nearly a minute on the floor trying to regroup.

Eventually, he was joined by trainers and taken to the locker room to begin the league’s concussion protocol to determine whether on not he received an injury to his brain.

Davis has missed one game this season because of a left knee injury suffered in the first quarter of an Oct. 24 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.

The league’s concussion protocol is a multifaceted testing operation requiring any player suffering from head trauma to clearly demonstrate he’s been fully healed before returning.

According to the league’s requirements, a player in the concussion protocol program can’t return to the floor until the following:

  • He is without concussion-related symptoms at rest.
  • He has been evaluated by a physician.
  • He has successfully completed the NBA return-to-participation exertion protocol.
  • A team physician has discussed the return-to-participation process and decision with the director of the NBA concussion program, Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher.

The short-term absence of Davis crushed the Pelicans on Friday.

After New Orleans rallied back from a 35-8 deficit in the first quarter to enter halftime with just a 64-58 deficit, Denver exploited the Pelicans. The Nuggets pushed lead back to 24 points by the late stages of the third quarter.