LeBron Entering COVID Protocol Yet Another Obstacle For Fading Lakers

It's been a rocky season for the vaunted Lakers, and equally challenging for LeBron James.

First came a sore ankle that forced James to miss a couple games early in the year. Then came the abdominal strain that kept him out several more. And who can forget the one-game suspension for his dustup with Detroit Pistons big man Isaiah Stewart.

All the while, LA has failed to look anything close to the championship contender it assumed it would be. Actually, at this point, most people are wondering if the Lakers (11-11 entering Tuesday night) will even make the playoffs.

In short, without James, the Lakers look like nothing more than Anthony Davis' old New Orleans Pelicans teams. With James, they've only looked slightly better.

Well, the hits just keep on coming, as the Lakers announced Tuesday that James has entered health and safety protocols -- meaning he has either tested positive for COVID or come in close contact with someone else who did.

James turns 37 at the end of next month. Injuries have clearly been catching up. That can happen when you're nearing the rocking chair stage of professional sports. Worse for the Lakers ... well, they're almost all old.

In fact, this year's Lakers team is the oldest in NBA history, with an average age of 30. And that doesn't even account for the theory that Davis, 28, seemingly has about as much wear and tear on his body as 40-year old.

LeBron is getting near the end of his career. He is on basketball's the back 9, right around the 15th or 16th hole. He has called this season "right at the top" of his greatest challenges.

Like so many other times already this season, circumstances are forcing him to try to tackle that challenge from somewhere other than the basketball court.