LeBron James was unable to attend the Los Angeles Lakers game on Tuesday. He will be out indefinitely following the NBA's safety and health protocols. James, an NBA player, had a positive or inconclusive Covid-19 test, which could have made him the most famous athlete with this breakthrough infection.
Anthony Davis, James’ teammate, said that James was asymptomatic. He also stated that “Covid is a scary thing” in remarks that suggested he had tested positive. TMZ reported this earlier Tuesday. The Covid test results have been made public by the NBA teams to players. The Lakers have not provided any further information about James’s case.
Frank Vogel, Lakers coach, said that “hopefully this is something that will be short-term.” “We’ll see.”
Vogel said that James was transported to Los Angeles by the team from Sacramento. He declined to say whether James was a best player who traveled by car or plane. Vogel stated that safety and health protocols are important to Vogel. “That’s all that I can do.”
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The league’s protocols for the NBA do not apply to vaccinated NBA players. They are only allowed to play if they have received positive or inconclusive results. It does not apply if they were exposed to coronaviruses or if they were found to have close contacts. The league’s pandemic rules require that players who have been vaccinated are out for at least 10 days, or until they return two negative tests within 24 hours.
This is just the latest setback for a team that has already suffered setbacks. They have a record of 12-11 against one of the league’s most difficult schedules. This is largely because the Lakers have struggled without James, the 36-year old, previously indestructible player who has missed half their games this season due to minor injuries and a suspension. The Lakers have three more games to play in the remaining 10 days before James is out. They also face two nationally televised matchups against the Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics.
Breakthrough cases are the latest disruption in professional sports. Although 97% of NBA players are vaccinated according to the league, there have been dozens breakthrough cases among coaches and players, including Joel Embiid of Philadelphia 76ers, who was unable to play for three weeks.
As the league urges eligible players to get booster shots, the NBA is preparing for a potentially prolonged absence of its biggest star. NBA players were informed in early November that boosters had been recommended by federal health agencies several weeks prior to the Omicron variant’s discovery. They would have to undergo additional testing starting Wednesday if they refused to get a booster.
Because indoor leagues involve players travelling across the country, in close contact with each other without masks, the NBA has always advocated aggressive mitigation policies. The NHL has also seen disruptive outbreaks this year that caused the temporary closure of two teams, despite the league’s 99% player vaccination rate.
James, who avoided questions about his vaccination status last season, stated that he initially was skeptical about the Covid vaccines, but eventually decided to get them to protect his family, friends, and himself.
He declined to endorse vaccines or advocate for others to get them, as opposed to many stars and athletes with similar followings.
James stated in September that “I don’t feel like, personally, I should get involved with what other people should be doing for their bodies, and their livelihoods.”