LeBron James was inducted into the NBA’s health and safety protocols and banned from the Los Angeles Lakers game against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night.
Such a move almost certainly means one of two things: that James, who said he was vaccinated earlier this season, either tested positive for COVID-19 or had an inconclusive result.
If James tested positive he would likely be at least 10 days away from the Lakers unless he returns two negative PCR tests within 24 hours.
The news that he was running out of time came the same day the NBA reiterated its previous recommendation, reiterated by the National Basketball Players Association, that coaches and players who are vaccinated get a booster vaccination as soon as possible.
The NBA told its teams in a memo from The Associated Press on Tuesday that it has documented 34 cases where a fully vaccinated player, coach or employee had a groundbreaking case of COVID-19. The league has said around 97% of players are fully vaccinated, with Brooklyn-based Kyrie Irving – who hasn’t played this season due to his status – among the exceptions.
Other NBA stars have already missed several games this season after testing positive, including Joel Embiid of Philadelphia – who just missed three weeks in dealing with the virus.
Tuesday’s game marked James ‘twelfth absence in the Lakers’ first 23 games of the season. He missed 10 games due to injuries and another due to his first NBA suspension of his 19-year career.
He has an average of 25.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 6.8 assists this season. If he was out for 10 days, he would miss at least four games.