After spending the last several days in the NBA's health and safety protocols, Lakers forward LeBron James did not speak kindly of the league's process.
James said he tested negative for COVID-19 on Tuesday but later tested positive in a follow-up test, forcing him to miss the matchup against the Kings that day and fly home to Los Angeles. He told reporters after Friday's 119–115 loss to the Clippers that he "thought it was just handled very poorly," and was left feeling confused, frustrated and angry.
"Usually when you have a positive test, they'll test you right away to make sure," James said postgame. "There was not a follow-up test after my positive test. It was straight to isolation and you've been put into protocol. That's the part that kind of angered me."
James, who scored 23 points and grabbed 11 rebounds on his return, was cleared to play after returning two negative PCR tests within a 24 hour window later last week. He reportedly returned a total of eight negative tests between his return to L.A. and his clearance to play, per ESPN.
"Going into Sacramento, I was getting into the rhythm, a really, really good rhythm, like offensively, defensively," James said. "It's just been very frustrating either dealing with the groin or the abdomen, and then having to deal with the false positive that knocked me out a game, then knocked me off the floor and not being able to keep my rhythm."
After recommending that players and staff receive a COVID-19 booster nearly a month ago, the NBA reportedly set a deadline to receive the extra dose. Players who do not receive it by Dec. 17 will be subject to gameday testing.
With the loss to the Clippers, the Lakers move to 12–12 and sit at seventh in the Western Conference.
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