LeBron James only ended up missing one game after being placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocols. The Los Angeles Lakers star missed the team’s 117-92 drubbing of the Sacramento Kings as a result, and on Friday, he returned for the team’s 119-115 defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers.
Despite this, James was not happy with the fact that he had to miss time. James spoke after the loss about the sequence of events that led to him entering the protocols, which left him “confused, frustrated, angry.”
"Confused, frustrated, angry…I knew I was going to get cleared. I thought it was handled very poorly." LeBron James with @LakersReporter on being in health and safety protocols the last few days. #LakeShow pic.twitter.com/NemhzyzJ5k
— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) December 4, 2021
“The fact that I tested negative first, and then my second test came back positive, and usually when you have a positive test, they will test you right away to make sure,” James said when asked what part of the angered him. “There was not a follow-up test after my positive test, it was straight isolation, and you’ve been put into protocol. That’s the part that kind of angered me, and I had to figure out a way to get home from Sacramento by myself, they wouldn’t allow anyone to travel with me — no security, no anything when I traveled back from Sacramento. And then, I had to put my kids in isolation for the time being, and put people in my household in isolation for the time being. So, it was just a big-time inconvenience, so that was just the angry part.”
James said that, because he was put into the protocols, he was unable to do anything from “Monday evening all the way until I got cleared at like 4 o’clock yesterday afternoon,” and that he picked up a basketball for the first time in a few days on Friday morning. He said it’s “unfortunate when you get a false positive and you get put right into isolation,” but said he was optimistic he’d get cleared sooner rather than later.
“I knew I was gonna get cleared because I never, ever felt sick, at all,” James said. “And I know you can be asymptomatic, but, I mean, if what I had was a positive COVID test, then what are we doing? What are we talking about? So, I just thought it was handled very poorly.”
In a statement, the NBA explained what happened with James getting placed in the protocols.
“James was originally placed in the Protocols on Tuesday, November 30 after a series of tests delivered conflicting results, including an initial positive test that was collected on November 29. Additional testing confirmed that he is not a positive case,” the league said, per ESPN.
“In accordance with the Protocols, and the consistent testing practice that has been in place since the 2019-20 Season Restart in Orlando, the sample that produced the initial positive test was re-run twice and returned one negative and one positive result on two different PCR instruments. As a result, James underwent additional testing on November 30, with one test returning a negative result and a second test resulting in a clinically inconclusive result.”