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Lakers' LeBron James Enters Health and Safety Protocols, Won't Play vs. Kings

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIDecember 1, 2021

AP Foto/Alex Gallardo

The Los Angeles Lakers announced that forward LeBron James has entered the league's health and safety protocols and will not play Tuesday against the Sacramento Kings. 

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

Lakers star LeBron James will be sidelined for at least 10 days, or unless he returns two negative test results in 24 hours moving forward, sources tell <a href="https://twitter.com/TheAthletic?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TheAthletic</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/Stadium?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Stadium</a>. <a href="https://t.co/Mok1iyfogL">https://t.co/Mok1iyfogL</a>

James is averaging 25.8 points, 6.8 assists and 5.2 rebounds in his 19th NBA season.

The Lakers only play twice in the first eight days of December, with a home game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday and a matchup with the Boston Celtics on Tuesday, Dec. 7. After that stretch, L.A. then has three games in four days lined up between the 9th and 12th.

Potentially being sidelined for 10 days would lead to James missing a minimum of four games, although he could return earlier than the 9th with a pair of negative tests.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski also reported that James is expected to be out "several games," which would presumably mean that he sits the Kings and Clips matchups at minimum.

James previously told reporters at the Lakers' media day on September 29 that he was vaccinated against COVID-19.

"I think everyone has they own choice—to do what they feel is right for themselves and their family and things of that nature," he said, per Zoe Christen Jones of CBS News.

"I know that I was very [skeptical] about it all, but after doing my research I felt like it was best suited for not only me but for my family and my friends."

Without James, expect the Lakers to lean more on Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis, while Talen Horton-Tucker appears to be the top candidate to replace the four-time NBA MVP in the starting lineup.

Horton-Tucker was in the starting five during the last game James missed, which was a 106-100 loss to the New York Knicks on Nov. 23.

As for Tuesday, the Lakers are in Sacramento to face the Kings, who beat L.A. in a triple-overtime matchup last Friday. Tipoff is scheduled for 10 p.m. ET from Golden 1 Center.

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