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What's next for Lakers and LeBron James after he entered health and safety protocols?

·2 min read
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  • Los Angeles Lakers
    Los Angeles Lakers
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • LeBron James
    LeBron James
    American basketball player
  • Anthony Davis
    Anthony Davis
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James entered the NBA’s COVID health and safety protocols and likely will miss multiple games while in isolation.

While the Lakers did not say whether he tested positive for COVID-19, Lakers teammate Anthony Davis said James told him he was asymptomatic. Players who enter the health and safety protocols have either tested positive or returned an inconclusive test.

While vaccinated players are not subject to regular testing – James said at the team’s media day in September he is vaccinated – the NBA informed teams just before Thanksgiving that all players, regardless of vaccination status, would undergo COVID-19 testing with players socializing with family and friends over the holiday weekend.

What next for James?

To discontinue isolation, James must clear a time-based resolution or test-based resolution, according to the NBA’s health and safety protocols

The time-based resolution states that for a player to discontinue isolation, “at least 10 days have passed since the date of the first positive or inconclusive test or symptom onset (if any),” per NBA protocols.

LeBron James missed the Lakers’ game against the Kings on Tuesday and he could also miss at least the next two games, depending on when his isolation period began.
LeBron James missed the Lakers’ game against the Kings on Tuesday and he could also miss at least the next two games, depending on when his isolation period began.

With a test-based resolution, a player can discontinue isolation if he “returns at least two consecutive negative PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests, each from samples collected at least 24 hours after the prior sample,” according to the league protocols.

A player must also clear a medical review by a team and league physician.

In a case where a player has moderate to severe symptoms, a cardiac screening may be necessary. Cardiac screening is not required for player who is asymptomatic or has mild symptoms.

After 10 days or two consecutive negative tests and a player discontinues isolation, he can return to competition with no or mild symptoms, according to the league. (For context, it’s rare that a player returns two consecutive negative tests before the 10-day isolation period expires.)

How many games will James miss?

James missed the Lakers’ 117-92 victory over Sacramento on Tuesday, and depending on when his isolation period began, he’ll likely miss games against the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday, Boston on Tuesday and possibly Memphis on Dec. 9.

When will he return?

Again, it depends when his isolation period began. If he learned of a positive test on Monday, he could return against Memphis. If he learned of the positive test on Tuesday, he could return Dec. 10 against Oklahoma City.

What does this mean for the Lakers?

The Lakers are struggling at 12-11 and James has missed 12 games – 10 to injury, one to suspension and one to health and safety protocols. The Lakers are 5-7 without James and can’t afford to be .500 team in a deep Western Conference.

Davis and Russell Westbrook need to carry the team without James – as they did against the Kings, with Davis collecting 25 points, seven rebounds, two steals and two blocks and Westbrook adding 23 points, six assists and five rebounds.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: What's next for LeBron James after entering health and safety protocols?