LeBron James has been placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocols and has been ruled out of Tuesday night’s game against the Sacramento Kings.A move of this magnitude almost certainly means one of two things: James, who stated earlier this season that he is vaccinated, either tested positive for Covid-19 or had an inconclusive result.According to a source familiar with the situation, the Lakers are preparing for James to miss multiple games. The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because neither the team nor James had made that information public.
According to ESPN, James is “expected” to miss several games.If James tests positive, he will most likely be suspended for at least 10 days unless he returns two negative PCR tests in a 24-hour period. The Lakers learned of James’ situation Tuesday morning, according to coach Frank Vogel, and arranged for him to be transported back to Los Angeles from Sacramento.Vogel refused to say whether James was experiencing any symptoms.”Obviously, it’s a huge loss,” Vogel said before the game on Tuesday.
“It’s disheartening. We simply want the best for him right now. That’s where our minds are.”The announcement that James will be missing time came on the same day that the NBA reiterated its previous recommendation, which was echoed by the National Basketball Players Association, that coaches and players who have been vaccinated receive a booster shot as soon as possible.
In a memo obtained by The Associated Press, the NBA also informed its teams on Tuesday that it had documented 34 cases in which a fully vaccinated player, coach, or staffer had a breakthrough case of Covid-19. The league has stated that approximately 97 percent of players are fully vaccinated, with Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving, who has not played this season due to his status, being one of the exceptions.
Other NBA players have already missed multiple games this season after testing positive for the virus, including Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, who has only been out for three weeks.James will be absent for the 12th time this season in the Lakers’ first 23 games. He missed ten games due to injuries and another due to his first NBA suspension in his 19-year career.Since the start of the regular season, James is the 17th player to have entered the league’s health and safety protocols.
This does not include players who were absent during training camp and the preseason. When asked about his vaccination status in September, James said, “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 I was (skeptical) about it all.” But after doing my research and such, I felt it was best suited not only for me but also for my family and friends. And, you know, that’s why I decided to go ahead with it.”
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