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Cody Zeller to undergo surgery after Andre Iguodala elbow

Cody Zeller, Andre Iguodala, Trail Blazers

Cody Zeller’s official debut with the Portland Trail Blazers has likely been delayed. Considering the severity of his broken nose, the veteran big man is lucky Andre Iguodala’s elbow didn’t do even more damage.

Chauncey Billups announced on Wednesday that Zeller is set for surgery to repair the broken nose he suffered in Portland’s preseason opener against the Golden State Warriors. The procedure will take place on Friday, and Zeller will later be fitted for a mask he’ll wear upon his indefinite return to the floor.

The injury occurred in the third quarter of Monday’s exhibition opener, when Iguodala’s elbow made inadvertent, direct contact with Zeller’s nose as the former finished off a dunk. Zeller immediately left the floor, with Portland quickly announcing he’d suffered a broken nose.

Ouch. No wonder doctors were unable to reset Zeller’s “crushed” nose.

It’s unclear when Zeller will be able to return. Portland tips off the regular season at home against the Sacramento Kings on October 20th, 12 days out from his surgery.

If Zeller misses a small portion of the games that matter, expect Billups to go small behind Jusuf Nurkic, playing Larry Nance Jr. and Robert Covington at nominal center. Training camp invites Patrick Patterson and Marquese Chriss, previously viewed as longshots to make the team, could have a better chance to earn Portland’s final roster spot if Zeller is absent for the start of the regular season, too.