LeBron James sure is having a difficult start to the 2021-2022 season.
James missed eight consecutive games in November due to an abdominal strain, a stretch in which the Lakers went 3-5 in his absence. After returning from injury, James played in just two games before being ejected from the Lakers game in Detroit for striking Pistons big man Isaiah Stewart in the face while boxing out on the free throw line.
An ensuing brouhaha ensued, culminating in the NBA handing down suspensions to both players — including one game for James — who missed the Lakers showdown with the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
Following the suspension, James put up his best numbers of the season, pouring in 39 points in a Lakers overtime victory in Indiana.
James’ season just hit another speed bump.
Tuesday night before the Lakers game in Sacramento, James was ruled out and placed in the NBA’s COVID health and safety protocols, and is expected to miss several games as reported by NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski.
Players with Covid must be out 10 days, or return two negative PCR tests in a 24 hour period. For now, James will remain in the health and safety protocols.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 1, 2021
While the Lakers have not officially stated that James has tested positive for COVID, statements from his teammates indicate that he has.
“He said he’s good,” Lakers forward Anthony Davis said postgame. “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.”
Due to NBA rules, James will be forced to isolate for 10 days or will need two negative COVID tests in 24 hours in order to return to the team.
“We just want the best for him right now,” Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said. “That’s where our thoughts are. We have a next man up mind-set. It’s an 82-game season. You got to deal with guys being in and out of the lineup. We’ve been without him some already this season.”
After months of speculation, James announced his vaccination status at Lakers Media Days in October.
“I know that for me I can speak about myself,” James said in October. “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 that I was very [skeptical] about it all, but after doing my research, and things of that nature, I felt like it was best suited for not only me but for my family and for my friends, and that’s why I decided to do it.”
The Lakers have struggled to start the year — 12-11 on the season — as they attempt to adapt to a new roster that includes Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, DeAndre Jordan, and Dwight Howard.
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to [email protected].