NBA Announces False Positive COVID Results For LeBron James, Permitting His Return Friday Vs. Clippers

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James was declared out for Tuesday night's game against the Sacramento Kings after reportedly testing positive for COVID-19.

After entering health and safety protocols, James was assumed to be out for the week's slate of games to fulfill the requisite 12-day isolation period until a statement by the NBA, released Thursday, cleared the player's status for Friday's matchup against the Clippers.

James was announced as asymptomatic upon his diagnosis — which may have something to do with not actually having COVID.

On Wednesday, LeBron tacitly put pressure on the NBA with a tweet, implying that the COVID situation was "fishy."

According to the Association's statement, James tested negative for COVID-19 twice based on two COVID tests conducted within 24 hours and is now out of the COVID safety protocols. Per the logic of the negative PCR tests, the Tuesday diagnosis was a false positive — prompting discussion as to how many times the NBA, and fellow leagues, have sat players out over false positives.

The NBA released the following regarding James' eligibility to return for the 12-11 Lakers on Friday:

"Following two negative PCR tests conducted more than 24 hours apart, Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James has cleared the NBA's Health & Safety Protocols. ...

"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.

"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."

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Alejandro Avila lives in Southern California and previously covered news for the LA Football Network. Jeopardy expert and grumpy sports fan. Known for having watched every movie and constant craving for dessert. @alejandroaveela (on X)