Lakers’ star LeBron James is out against the Sacramento Kings Tuesday night because he has entered the league’s health and safety protocols, the team announced.
While there is no official confirmation yet from the team, multiple reports say he will be out for multiple games, meaning he tested positive for COVID-19. He can return in 10 days or if he has two negative tests more than 24 hours apart (it is possible he could be back sooner than the 10-day window). Exactly how many games he will miss will depend on the testing.
Anthony Davis said after the Lakers win over the Kings Tuesday that he has spoken with LeBron, who told Davis he is asymptomatic.
The Lakers are 5-7 in games LeBron has missed this season and have a -2.2 net rating when he is off the court. He is the team’s primary halfcourt shot creator and without him they have had the worst halfcourt offensive numbers in the league (around 88 points per 100 possessions).
How long LeBron is out will depend on the testing, but he is likely to miss three or four games.
LeBron is vaccinated; this would be a breakthrough case. The NBA increased its testing after Thanksgiving in an effort to keep the virus from spreading around the league.
According to a study sanctioned by the NBA and NBPA, there have been 34 breakthrough cases among NBA players and staff this season. People who have been vaccinated are far less likely to develop symptoms or be hospitalized if they do. However, the virus can still knock some vaccinated people for a loop. Here is how Joel Embiid of the 76ers described his symptoms (he missed three weeks with a breakthrough case, hat tip NBC Sports Philly).
“It hasn’t been good. That jawn hit me hard,” Embiid said, employing a term from the Philly vernacular that can work for just about any noun. “I really thought I wasn’t going to make it. It was that bad. So I’m just thankful to be sitting here. I struggled with it, but I’m just glad that I got over it and I’m here doing what I love with some good people.”
Hopefully it doesn’t hit LeBron that hard.