When it was reported by multiple insiders that LeBron James had entered into the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols, would be out at least 10 days and be subject to the regulations that players who test positive are subjected to, it was pretty clear that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, even if no one — the team included — was explicitly reporting as much. But if there were any lingering doubts as to why James was out against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday and will sit indefinitely moving forward, Anthony Davis dispelled them after the game.
“I talked to him today,” Davis said. “I checked on him. 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.”
James — who is vaccinated — would normally not be tested unless he was feeling symptoms, but the NBA implemented daily tests for all players this week as the league returned to play after most players and personnel had Thanksgiving gatherings in an attempt to prevent unmitigated spread throughout the league, which is reportedly 97% vaccinated but still taking precautions while playing indoors and traveling amidst a still-raging pandemic.
But Davis said the news he got from his check-in with his co-star and close friend was that James is feeling fine and not dealing with any symptoms, despite his positive tests.
“He said he’s good,” Davis said. “He said he’s asymptomatic, which is a good sign, but we want to make sure that he gets back. Health is what’s most important. It’s bigger than basketball. He has a family and we want to make sure that he’s good no matter what.”
That could mean an extended absence for James, or it could mean a quick return in 10 days, depending on what James’ health, continuing tests and the league’s protocols allow.
But Davis — who did charity in the early days of the pandemic due to family that works in healthcare, has long advocated for vaccines and has taken the threat of COVID-19 seriously from the beginning — said the Lakers aren’t thinking about James getting back on the court.
They just want him to be OK. Basketball comes second right now.
“His health is what’s most important, especially for our organization. He’s part of our family and we want to make sure he’s good. For his sake, for his family’s sake,” Davis said.
Still, Davis was hopeful that as James isolates and recovers, his teammates were able to give his spirits a slight lift with their dominant second half in a 117-92 win in Sacramento.
“Like I said, he seemed to be fine, but I know he’s watching basketball and he’s excited, so the win probably helped him fight this off as well.” Davis said.