Coronavirus: LeBron James cleared to return after two negative tests

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has been cleared to play in Friday night’s game against the Clippers after he passed the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the league announced Thursday.

>> Read more trending news

James, 36, missed the Lakers’ 117-92 victory Tuesday against the Sacramento Kings, The New York Times reported. Had James tested positive for COVID-19, he would have missed at least 10 days, the newspaper reported.

According to the league, James returned two negative PCR tests within a 24-hour period, ESPN reported. Players who are asymptomatic can also return to play after 10 days if they are vaccinated, according to The Los Angeles Times.

>> Coronavirus: Lakers star LeBron James enters NBA health, safety protocols

“Following two negative PCR tests conducted more than 24 hours apart, Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James has cleared the NBA’s health and safety protocols,” the NBA said in a statement. “James was originally placed in the protocols ... on Nov. 30 after a series of tests delivered conflicting results, including an initial positive test that was collected on Nov. 29.

“Additional testing confirmed that he is not a positive case.”

James, who is vaccinated against COVID-19, is averaging 25.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 6.8 assists in 11 games for the Lakers this season, according to the Los Angeles Times.

>> NBA fines Lakers’ LeBron James $15K for making obscene gesture

Tuesday’s game was the 12th one James has missed this season, according to The New York Times. He missed 10 because of ankle and abdominal injuries, and missed one when he was suspended for the first time in his 19-season career earlier this month, the newspaper reported.

>>LeBron James rookie card sells for $5.2M, ties record for most valuable sports card

On Friday, James was fined $15,000 for making an obscene gesture during a game on Nov. 24 against the Indiana Pacers.

More coronavirus pandemic coverage:

>> Coronavirus: How long between exposure to the virus and the start of symptoms?

>> What are your chances of coming into contact with someone who has COVID-19? This tool will tell you

>> How to not let coronavirus pandemic fatigue set in, battle back if it does