Lakers' Dennis Schroder Talks Frustration with NBA COVID Policy After Absence

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 27, 2021

Los Angeles Lakers guard Dennis Schroder (17) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers guard Dennis Schroder took issue with the NBA's COVID-19 policy Friday following his return to the lineup.

Schroder, who missed four games because of the NBA's health and safety protocols, called for change, per Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times: "It hurts, first off. I never had COVID. Tested negative the whole time. The situation is what it is. But the NBA I think got to do better. I think for sure they need to do better. I mean, I tested negative the whole time. I never had positive. They got to figure that out, for sure."

The Lakers lost all four games Schroder missed, but they bounced back with a 102-93 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday, as the eighth-year veteran finished with 22 points, three rebounds and two assists.

Schroder's criticism also took aim at the accuracy and consistency of the NBA's COVID testing, as he said: "The test came back positive, then we put that back in: negative. Did another one: positive. Put it back in: negative. So, I don't know at this point."

With superstar big man Anthony Davis out because of calf and Achilles injuries, Schroder's absence loomed large, as it essentially left LeBron James to fend for himself.

The results weren't good, as L.A. suffered losses to the Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat, Washington Wizards and Utah Jazz.

Because of that losing streak, the Lakers went from battling with the Jazz for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference to falling to third behind both the Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers.

Now, the Lakers sit 3.5 games behind Utah, meaning they will have an uphill climb during the second half of the season, as they try to win games while also managing the health of key players.

Health and safety protocols remain an inexact science in the NBA and all professional sports, as the major pro leagues attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as much as possible.

If Schroder indeed never had COVID-19, the health and safety protocols may have cost the Lakers some wins while he was out.

Still, the league continues to err on the safe side for good reason. If there was any chance of Schroder spreading COVID-19 to his teammates, sitting him down for four games prevented the entire team from having to postpone games for a week or perhaps even more.