Lakers Rumors: LeBron James Frustrated With NBA’s Protocols After Recording Negative Test?
LeBron James, Lakers
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

This has been an extremely frustrating season for Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James so far as the 19-year veteran has been on and off the court all year for a multitude of reasons.

LeBron first dealt with a ankle and abdomen issues that caused him to miss a number of games before also dealing with a one-game suspension, and now being placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocols after a positive coronavirus (COVID-19) test.

James also added to the speculation regarding his positive test with a recent tweet in which he said something fishy was going on:

Many assumed he was speaking on the COVID test and suggesting that something was off about what was going on, but LeBron didn’t follow up with anything clearing it up.

While it is still not completely clear what LeBron was referring to, Shams Charania of The Athletic recently appeared on the Pat McAfee Show and offered up what he believes could be the issue regarding James and when he could potentially return:

“Where this stands right now is he’s gonna be in protocols for at least the next 10 days, and so that puts him in position possibly to return next weekend. So not this upcoming weekend, but next weekend. That means he’d miss at least five or six games, so that is a tough blow for the Lakers. But when you see LeBron James tweet something like that out, I think just providing some context, from everything I’ve been told, LeBron James is feeling fine, he’s feeling good, he hasn’t been symptomatic as of right now.

But it’s just something he’s dealing with that NBA protocols say you have to have two negative PCR tests to get back onto the floor after you’ve entered health and safety protocols. He has had, I’m told, at least one negative test, but has it been a PCR, has it been a rapid? That part I’m not sure about. But I think the confusion that I’m sure lies with LeBron James is I’m feeling fine, I am recording at least one negative test, but it’s not up to the NBA’s protocols, whether it’s PCR testing. This is all very technical stuff, but if he doesn’t record two straight negative PCR tests, period, he can’t get back on the floor until at least 10 days and I think that’s what he’s been grappling with. I’m sure it’s frustrating.”

As Charania said, there are a lot of technicalities going on with how the NBA handles its COVID cases and that could be adding to the frustration LeBron is feeling right now. While some people, such as Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, are hit really hard by the virus, others like James are completely asymptomatic and feel completely fine.

If LeBron feels good, has recorded one negative test, and badly wants to be on the floor to help the Lakers, it is probably killing him to be forced to stay away from the team and watch from afar.

But the league has its protocols on situations like this and they will stick to them regardless of the stature of the player. Unfortunately for LeBron and the Lakers, it looks like he will be out at least for the next few games unless he records two negative PCR tests.

Westbrook hopes LeBron James is OK mentally

The mental struggle with this latest setback for James is something Russell Westbrook was concerned about and he noted that he would reach out to him to make sure he is fine in that aspect as well.

“My thing is more just him just mentally and physically it can be difficult,” Westbrook said after the Lakers’ 25-point victory over the Sacramento Kings. “Playing and not playing. And I know he wants to play and compete, so that’s where my main thing is. So I’ll definitely call and check on him once I leave here. Check his mental making sure he’s in that good space because it could be difficult in and out of the lineup.”

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