It's been a rollercoaster of emotions for the LA Lakers throughout the beginning of the season. After dealing with a number of injuries, the Lakers were dealt another tough blow earlier this week when it was announced superstar forward LeBron James was entering the league's health and safety protocols after testing positive for COVID-19.
However, in a Thursday report from NBA Insider Shams Charania of The Athletic, LeBron James has been cleared and is expected to return Friday for the team's matchup against the LA Clippers. It's a huge sigh of relief for the Lakers organization, as it was expected James would miss multiple games.
The news couldn't be bigger for the Lakers, as most players who enter the league's health and safety protocols usually miss an extended number of games.
After initially testing positive, James reportedly had multiple various tests that came back negative. LA Lakers beat writer Dave McMenamin shared that LeBron had been testing "rigorously" since he returned to Los Angeles, including eight COVID tests since Saturday. All of the tests reportedly came back negative, giving LeBron clearance to return to the court.
James missed the Lakers' 117-92 win Tuesday at the Sacramento Kings because of the situation.
It's been a strange process since James had to enter the protocols as James was vocal about the fact that a number of his tests had come back negative.
At the end of the day, the Lakers superstar is expected to be back in the lineup as the team tries to finally get back on track and climb their way up the standings in the Western Conference. James missed 12 of his team's 23 games this season (because of the COVID protocols, a one-game suspension and injuries), with the Lakers (12-11) going 5-7 in those games without him.
It looks as if James will return to the court for the foreseeable future. The team is sixth in the Western Conference standings.
The Lakers will need their superstar for their upcoming schedule, which has a number of challenging opponents. The Lakers will host the Clippers (11-11) on Friday before a matchup against the Boston Celtics (12-10) on Tuesday.
For a team that has dealt with a string of bad luck to start the year, it looks as if the Lakers might finally get the chance to get back in a rhythm and try to climb the ranks in the West.