Lakers' LeBron James Cleared from COVID Protocols, Can Play vs. Clippers

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIDecember 2, 2021

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, left, gets past to shoot against Detroit Pistons guard Hamidou Diallo, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
AP Photo/Alex Gallardo

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James has been cleared by the NBA to return from the league's health and safety protocols and will be available to play Friday against the Los Angeles Clippers.

NBA Communications @NBAPR

The following was released by the NBA <a href="https://t.co/Ct60rHwLLv">pic.twitter.com/Ct60rHwLLv</a>

Per the NBA, James returned conflicting test results, including a positive COVID-19 test on Nov. 29, which led to him entering the league's protocols. However, he has since returned multiple negative COVID-19 tests, enabling him to return to the court.

Those negative test results occurred after James returned to L.A. from Sacramento, where he was due to play against the Kings on Tuesday before entering the protocols. Sans James, L.A. ended up winning 117-92 to move to 12-11 on the year.

Following the negative tests, James' initial positive test was determined to be an inconclusive result, per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.

James told reporters at the Lakers' media day that he is vaccinated against COVID-19, saying he thought it was the best decision for his family and friends.

The initial report from Charania stated that James would need to return two negative tests at least 24 hours apart or sit at least 10 days. With the negative test results now official, James is back with the team after missing just one game.

The 17-time All-Star is averaging 25.8 points, 6.8 assists and 5.2 rebounds in his 19th NBA season.

The Lakers list him as probable to return, citing his abdominal strain that caused him to miss eight games earlier this season:

Ryan Ward @RyanWardLA

Lakers' updated status report for tomorrow's game against the Clippers: <a href="https://t.co/0j56iB4roL">pic.twitter.com/0j56iB4roL</a>

L.A. returns to the court Friday at 10 p.m. ET to take on the 11-11 Clippers at Staples Center.