LeBron James says COVID scare was 'handled very poorly'

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By , Audacy Sports

NBA legend LeBron James missed the Lakers' game on Tuesday while sidelined by the league's health and safety protocols -- and it sounds like he isn't very pleased about it.

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Following Friday night's loss to the Clippers, the four-time MVP addressed his one-game absence, which was triggered by what was later revealed to be a false positive on a Covid-19 test.

James told reporters that he was skeptical of the positive result, and became confused when he wasn't given a followup test soon after to either confirm or debunk it.

"Usually when you have a positive test, they'll test you right away to make sure," James said. "There was not a follow-up test after my positive test. It was 'straight to isolation and you've been put into protocol.' That's the part that kind of angered me. I had to figure out a way to get home from Sacramento by myself. They wouldn't allow anyone to travel with me, no security, no anything, when I traveled back from Sacramento."

But, according to ESPN, the NBA tightened up testing rules around Thanksgiving to account for a potential surge in cases that could be fueled by large gatherings for the holiday. So, it seems James was mistakenly swept up in that initiative.

"I knew I was going to get cleared because I never, ever felt sick at all," James said. "I just thought it was just handled very poorly."

James was cleared to return on Thursday after returning two negative tests in a 24-hour period, and according to ESPN, he returned eight total negative tests upon his return to Los Angeles from Sacramento, where he had been planning on playing on Tuesday night.

James, who turns 37 this month, said the isolation mandate also became an inconvenience for his family, and it knocked him out of a rhythm he'd recently rediscovered after his early season was interrupted by a groin injury.

The four-time NBA champion confirmed at the outset of this season that he was vaccinated during the summer. He acknowledged previous hesitancy after declining to publicly confirm his status throughout the 2020 season.

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