As much as I despise the Lakers and take tremendous joy in watching them struggle out the gate this season (The Kings took y’all to three overtimes?! Really?!), LeBron James contracting COVID-19 is the exact type of news that I hate to report on.
From the Washington Post:
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James will be sidelined indefinitely after entering the NBA’s coronavirus health and safety protocols.
The 36-year-old James, who has missed time this season with ankle and abdominal injuries, will be out for the Lakers’ game against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday.
Thankfully, LeBron is vaccinated (hopefully, you are too), which means that he was exempt from daily testing and is only required to undergo testing if he’s symptomatic or comes into close contact with someone who’s tested positive. But as a precautionary measure, the NBA required enhanced testing for every player regardless of their vaccination status after Thanksgiving—for obvious reasons.
“I checked on him,” teammate Anthony Davis said. “Just hearing what Joel Embiid said, obviously [Embiid] was scared, he said that he thought he wasn’t going to make it. COVID is a scary thing. Especially with all the new variants coming out and all that. [...] It’s a scary situation.”
Considering the Lakers are 5-7 this season without King James in the lineup, coach Frank Vogel understands that things could get a little bumpy during the next couple of games.
“It’s a huge loss,” Vogel said. “It’s disappointing. We just want the best for him right now. That’s where our thoughts are. We have a ‘next man up’ mindset.”
To that end, on Tuesday night, the Lakers were able to seek revenge and ward off the Kings 117-92 without LeBron in tow, but things could get ugly from here. Their next three games are against the Clippers on Friday, the Celtics on Dec. 7, and the Grizzlies on Dec. 9, and there’s always the possibility that the four-time NBA champion will require additional time to recover from the virus. Philadelphia 76ers superstar Embiid recently returned from a nine-game absence after contracting COVID-19.
“You never know with this,” Vogel said when asked how long he expects to be without his franchise player. “Hopefully, this is something short-term. We’ll see.”
We at The Root wish LeBron a speedy recovery.