The absences just won't stop for your Los Angeles Lakers.
After it was reported earlier today that valuable two-way guard Avery Bradley will be unavailable tonight with a UCL thumb sprain, it was just announced that an even more-important player will also be sitting. The head of the snake, 36-year-old future Hall of Fame forward LeBron James, will be a late scratch in tonight's very winnable contest against the Sacramento Kings (7 p.m. PT on Spectrum SportsNet). Sham Charania of The Athletic reports that the 17-time All-Star has entered the NBA's coronavirus health and safety protocols:
This injury news does not mean that the vaccinated James has himself contracted COVID-19, rather that he has been exposed to someone who tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
LeBron will have now missed more games than he has played, as he will have been unavailable for 12 of the very-thin Lakers' first 23 games. Should it turn out that the 6'9" tweener forward has indeed contracted COVID-19, he will be forced to miss the next 10 days of game action, which would cover four games: tonight against the Kings, Friday against the Los Angeles Clippers, next Tuesday against the Boston Celtics, and next Thursday against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Prior to this latest issue, James had also sat for an ankle injury and an abdominal strain. The Lakers have a less-than-stellar 4-7 record in the contests James has missed
Beyond James and Bradley, projected Lakers starting power forward Trevor Ariza provided an update on his return from a preseason ankle scope earlier today as well, and it appears he too will be unavailable for the immediate future.
Charania writes in a subsequent tweet that James will need to register to negative tests within the next day, or else will miss the next 10 days for LA. This wording would suggest that he has indeed tested positive for the novel coronavirus, though it is not an official confirmat: