NBA Gives Update on LeBron James' Status After Being Placed in Health and Safety Protocols

LeBron James has been cleared to return to the Los Angeles Lakers. On Thursday night, the NBA announced that James is not positive for COVID-19 despite a series of tests that produced conflicting results earlier in the week. According to ESPN, James returned eight negative tests since returning to Los Angeles on Tuesday afternoon. He tested positive for COVID-19 in Sacramento Tuesday morning. 

 "Following two negative PCR tests conducted more than 24 hours apart, Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James has cleared the NBA's Health & Safety Protocols," the NBA said in a statement. "James was originally placed in the Protocols on Tuesday, November 30 after a series of tests delivered conflicting results, including an initial positive test that was collected on November 29. Additional testing confirmed that he is not a positive case."

"In accordance with the Protocols, and the consistent testing practice that has been in place since the 2019-20 Season Restart in Orlando, the sample that produced the initial positive test was re-run twice and returned one negative and one positive result on two different PCR instruments. As a result, James underwent additional testing on November 30, with one test returning a negative result and a second test resulting in a clinically inconclusive result."  

James missed just one game while being in the health and safety protocols. The Lakers defeated the Sacramento Kings 117-92 on Tuesday, and the team had an off day on Wednesday. After the Kings game, James' teammate Anthony Davis gave an update on the four-time NBA champion.

"He said he's good," Davis said after the Kings game. "I think he's asymptomatic, which is a good sign, but we want to make sure that he gets back. Health is most important. This is bigger than basketball. He has a family. We want to make sure that he's good no matter what."

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James wasn't able to practice with the Lakers as he had to have two negative tests within a 24-hour window while being isolated from the team. Before the start of the season, James told reporters he was vaccinated. The Lakers have played 23 games so far this season, and James has missed 12 of them due to injuries, suspensions and COVID-19.