LeBron James: Fully vaccinated Lakers star benched over NBA’s Covid protocol

The Lakers star could miss as many as 10 days and multiple games under NBA Covid protocols

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
,Io Dodds
Wednesday 01 December 2021 21:52
LeBron James Out Due To COVID-19 Protocols
Leer en Español

Basketball star LeBron James missed a game on Tuesday and could sit out multiple others after one of his teammates indicated that he had suffered a breakthrough coronavirus infection.

Anthony Davis, who took over from Mr James as leader of the Los Angeles Lakers team, told reporters on Tuesday that “Covid is a scary thing” and that Mr James, who is fully vaccinated, is “asymptomatic”.

The Lakers have not confirmed the star’s status, but The Wall Street Journal and TMZ reported that he had tested positive for coronavirus and been taken out of play for at least 10 days under the NBA’s Covid protocols.

“He says he's good,” said Mr Davis on Tuesday night after the game. I think he said he’s asymptomatic, which is a good sign.

“We want to make sure that he gets back. Health is most important, you know? It’s bigger than basketball. He has a family...

“Covid is a scary thing, especially with all the new variants coming out.”

TMZ said that Mr James took three tests, with two coming back positive and one coming back negative, which the Lakers have not confirmed.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) leaves announcing tests results to individual players. If a vaccinated player tests positive, they can’t play for at least 10 days, or until they receive two negative tests 24 hours apart.

“Health and safety protocols, that’s all I can say,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel told the Journal. “Hopefully this is something that’s short-term... we’ll see.”

Lakers star Davis confirms LeBron has COVID-19, says he's "asymptomatic"

A positive test would make Mr James the most high-profile NBA star to suffer a breakthrough infection, and come as a blow to the Lakers, who defeated the Sacramento Kings 117 to 92 in Tuesday’s match.

Mr James has already missed half of his team’s games this season due to minor injuries and a suspension, with three more games scheduled for the 10 days he will sit out.

“It’s like I’m being tested with my leadership,” Mr Davis told Yahoo Sports afterwards. “’Bron has been out with injuries and now also with the COVID situation, so it’s a good test for me.

“It's a good experience for me to lead these guys, and the good thing about it [is], I have other vets on my side who’ve been in the game for a while to help me through the obstacles. It’s a good test, not just for our team, but for me to lead these guys.”

The NBA has suffered repeated breakthrough cases among the 97 per cent of its players who are vaccinated, as well as Covid infections suffered by athletes who refused the jab.

Vaccinated players were previously subject to less stringent protocols, but after Thanksgiving the NBA tightened its rules because many players had travelled to spend time with their families.

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