NBA athlete Lebron James is not having a great season. In November, James missed eight consecutive games due to an abdominal strain and after he returned he was ejected from a Lakers game for striking Pistons player Isaiah Stewart in the face. And now, he has been shunted off for entering the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols — with many suspecting that the athlete is positive for the virus.
James has been sidelined by the NBA due to its COVID-19 protocols and is expected to miss several games. On Tuesday night, James missed the Lakers game against the Sacramento Kings and is likely to miss at least 10 days more.
While the Lakers have yet to confirm if James has tested positive for COVID-19, comments made by his teammate Anthony Davis suggest that was the case, the New York Times reported.
“He said he’s good,” Davis said to reporters “I think he’s asymptomatic, which is a good sign. We want to make sure that he gets back. Health is most important. It’s bigger than basketball.”
Lakers coach Frank Vogel told reporters asking about James’ whereabouts that he found out on Tuesday morning that James had entered the health and safety protocols and the team had arranged for James to return to Los Angeles.
Under the NBA rules, James will be forced to remain in isolation for 10 days or provide two negative COVID tests in 24 hours to return to the team.
The New York Times reported:
Typically, players who are vaccinated face less stringent requirements than unvaccinated players. After Thanksgiving, though, the league implemented enhanced testing requirements even for vaccinated players, according to documents sent by league officials to each of the 30 teams. They did so with the expectation that the holiday would increase players’ potential exposure to the virus.
“We just want the best for him right now,” Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said. “That’s where our thoughts are. We have a next man up mind-set. It’s an 82-game season. You got to deal with guys being in and out of the lineup. We’ve been without him some already this season.”
In October, James told the world his vaccination status, confirming that he had taken the shot.
“I know that for me I can speak about myself,” James said in October. “I think everyone has their own choice to do what they feel is right for themselves and their family, and things of that nature. 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 for my friends, and that’s why I decided to do it.”
The Lakers are set to see a difficult year with James’ absence and a struggle to adapt to a new roster of players.