That horrific elbow which Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace hit Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden with on Sunday could invariably affect the Western Conference playoffs.
Harden is one of the league's top sixth men and one of the Thunder's best players. After Sunday's game, the Thunder diagnosed him with a concussion, meaning he can't return to the the court until he passes a battery of tests which are part of the NBA's new policy regarding concussions.
Under the new policy, to ensure that players are ready to play, a player must complete several steps.
And even when the concussion symptoms are gone, the player has to go through a rigorous evaluation process that includes stages of exertion from jogging, non-contact team drills, agility work and riding a stationary bike. And that could take days, or maybe even weeks.
Meanwhile, World Peace will probably be suspended by the league for throwing the elbow. The Lakers only have one game remaining -- Thursday at Sacramento.
But if World Peace is suspended for two games, he will miss Game 1 of the Lakers' first-round playoff series. And if he's suspended for three games, he'll miss the first two games of the playoffs.
-- Dwain Price
Follow me on Twitter