LeBron James Has Been Cleared From COVID Protocols And Can Play Friday Against The Clippers

On Tuesday night, Lakers star LeBron James entered the league’s COVID-19 protocols for a positive test and the expectation was that he could miss a week or more before returning to the court.

However, on Thursday, James apparently produced the sufficient negative test results for the second consecutive day following his one positive test, and is cleared to play in the crosstown matchup with the Clippers on Friday night, per Shams Charania of The Athletic.

James had voiced his frustration with the situation he found himself in, as the league tests came back positive, but others rapid tests came back negative on Tuesday. LeBron had been asymptomatic, and apparently his eight tests with the league from Wednesday and Thursday all returned negative, allowing him to return to the floor after just one game’s absence thanks to being in the league’s vaccinated player protocols.

That raises the intrigue for the all-L.A. battle on Friday, although it still won’t be broadcast on national TV after ESPN flexed it out of the primetime slot in favor of the Warriors-Suns rematch of last week’s thrilling battle between the West’s two top teams. At 12-11, the Lakers are sixth in the West, a half game ahead of the Clippers in what is a crowded middle of the playoff pack, and while it’s not a battle of teams playing at their best at the moment, every win is critical for West playoff hopefuls when they play each other.