UPDATED: Lebron James has been cleared to return to the basketball court after “two negative PCR tests conducted 24 hours apart,” according to a statement from the NBA Communications team.
“James was originally placed in the Protocols on Tuesday, November 30, after a series of tests delivered conflicting results,” read the statement. One test did come back positive on November 29 (Monday), but “additional testing confirmed he is not positive.”
The Lakers are set to play L.A. rivals the Clippers on Friday night. That game was reportedly set to air nationally, but in James’ absence, was replaced by a Suns-Warriors game.
PREVIOUSLY on Tuesday: Lakers superstar LeBron James will miss tonight’s game vs. the Sacramento Kings because he has “entered the league’s health and safety protocols,” according to Bleacher Report, ESPN’s Mike Trudell and the Athletic’s Shams Charania. NBA.com confirmed the reports.
It is unclear exactly why James has entered league protocols, but it doesn’t mean he necessarily has Covid-19. Other players have had to sit out due to false positives or exposures to individuals known to be infected. The league’s protocols this season, however, do not call for quarantines based on exposure, according to CBS News.
LeBron James Says Of His Suspension After Hard Foul And Melee:
ESPN Senior NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski said James “is expected to miss several games, source tells ESPN. Players with positive Covid cases must be out a minimum of 10 days…or return two negative PCR tests in a 24 hour period. For now, James will remain in the health and safety protocols.”
Charania wrote that “James will be sidelined for at least 10 days, or unless he returns two negative COVID-19 test results in 24 hours.”
Just yesterday, the Lakers posted video of James boarding the team plane with other players for tonight’s game. It is unclear how that proximity may impact the team as a whole.
Last season, James declined to say whether or not he was vaccinated. This season, however, he indicated that he is vaxed.
“I think everyone has their own choice to do what they feel is right for themselves and their family and things of that nature,” James said. “I know that I was very (skeptical) about it all. But after doing my research and things of that nature, I felt like it was best suited for not only me but for my family and my friends. And, you know, that’s why I decided to do it.”
James has battled injury this season, playing in about half of the team’s games thus far. He was also suspended for one game after an on-court altercation about 10 days ago. It is the only time James has been suspended in his 19-year career.
The team as a whole has been less than whole. While James and fellow All-Star Anthony Davis have been out sporadically, the Lakers roster has been decimated by injuries, including those currently to Trevor Ariza, Avery Bradley and Kendrick Nunn and previously to Talen Horton-Tucker and Austin Reaves.
The Lakers game tonight against the Kings is not nationally televised.
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