LeBron James is officially back for the Los Angeles Lakers and he’s already enjoying his time out of quarantine.
The four-time MVP was out and about taking in his son’s basketball game after being cleared by the league following a positive COVID-19 test. James returned eight negative tests since returning to Los Angeles on Tuesday afternoon, per ESPN, leading to the NBA clearing him for action.
James’ first tweet since the news was about basketball — kind of.
“I’m sorry but I’m at my boy’s game and the mask underneath the chin makes ZERO sense to me!” James tweeted.
His only other public message since missing Tuesday’s game against the Kings seemed to hint at the situation with his positive test, hinting that something “fishy” was going on.
James has missed 12 of the Lakers’ first 23 games due to injury, a one-game suspension and now health and safety protocols.
League Explains What Happened With LeBron James
Turns out James was right, although it was more precautionary than anything else, which the league explained in a release following the news on the Lakers star going public.
“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 in the release.
“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.”
It was an interesting situation for James but the good news is welcome from the Lakers, who will be trying to string together their third win in a row against the Clippers on Friday.
The Lakers were able to get by the Kings last time out, stepping on the gas in the second half with a 67-33 surge. Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook stepped up, as did veteran big man Dwight Howard, who notched a double-double off the bench. Howard is set to start the Lakers next game.
Other Lakers Getting Closer to Returns
The Lakers are still far from being at full health, with Avery Bradley, Trevor Ariza and Kendrick Nunn all dealing with injuries. The good news — Bradley and Ariza are inching closer to being back on the court. The bad is that there has not been much movement on Nunn’s status, who is dealing with a bone bruise on his knee.
Bradley won’t need surgery on his thumb and will play in a split going forward. While Ariza doesn’t have a timeline for his return, he was a non-contact participant at practice on Thursday.
“He was in just about everything and obviously a lot of different movements go into that,” Vogel told reporters on Thursday. “He’s still a ways away, he still has a build-up period before we can expect him to be in the lineup, but definitely a positive step forward.”
The Lakers need to get things moving in the right direction and getting healthy plays a huge part in that.