6:24pm: Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets that James will be sidelined for at least 10 days unless he tests negative for COVID-19 twice within a 24-hour span. Though it’s not confirmed, this timeline generally indicates a positive test.
5:39pm: Lakers All-Star forward LeBron James looks set to miss even more time in this young 2021/22 NBA season. Shams Charania of The Athletic reports (Twitter link) that James has entered the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols and will be unavailable for Tuesday’s contest against the Kings.
With this absence tonight (and potentially more to come, depending on his coronavirus testing status over the ensuing days and weeks), James will have now been sidelined for 12 of the Lakers’ 23 contests already this season, and it’s still only November.
The 36-year-old future Hall of Famer has put up gaudy numbers when available this year, his 19th in the league. He is averaging 25.8 PPG, 6.8 APG, and 5.2 RPG on .484/.344/.755 shooting across 11 games this season. The shorthanded Lakers are also without combo guard Avery Bradley and forward Trevor Ariza tonight.
Entering coronavirus protocols does not necessarily mean James, who is vaccinated, has tested positive for COVID-19. It does, however, at least indicate exposure to someone else who registered a positive test. Tim Bontemps of ESPN notes (via Twitter) that, should a player have a confirmed positive test, they will be sidelined for at least 10 days. During that timeline, the Lakers are set to play only four games, though three of those will be against playoff-caliber clubs in the Clippers, Celtics and Grizzlies.