Just as LeBron James was starting to find his rhythm, the Los Angeles Lakers’ star is set to miss even more time. James entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols Tuesday, sidelining him for multiple games.

James tested positive for COVID-19 Tuesday afternoon, TMZ reported. League rules stipulate that he’ll have to be away from the team for at least 10 days. After missing the Lakers’ 117-92 win over the Sacramento Kings Tuesday night, James is expected to miss three more games, at minimum.

The next game on the Lakers’ schedule is a key matchup Friday with the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers will be without their top player Kawhi Leonard, who is out indefinitely as he recovers from a torn ACL.

Los Angeles concludes its two-game homestand Tuesday against the Boston Celtics. The Lakers are on the road two nights later, visiting the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday, Dec. 9.

James could potentially return on Friday, Dec. 10 in a road matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Oklahoma City is near the bottom of the standings with a 6-14 record, but two of those wins came against the Lakers when James didn’t suit up.

After visiting Oklahoma City, Los Angeles is scheduled to play the Orlando Magic (Dec. 12), Dallas Mavericks (Dec. 15), Minnesota Timberwolves (Dec. 17) and Chicago Bulls (Dec. 19).

Several NBA players have missed more than the minimum 10 days after testing positive for COVID-19. Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid recently sat out three weeks in between games after going into health and safety protocols.

Lakers center Anthony Davis told reporters Tuesday that James said he was asymptomatic.

James has only played in 11 of the Lakers’ 23 games because of various ailments. The 36-year-old missed two games in October with a sore right ankle. An abdominal injury kept him off the court from Nov. 4-17. A suspension cost James his only visit to Madison Square Garden this season.

Prior to his latest setback, James scored at least 30 points in three straight games. James averaged 27.5 points and 7.2 assists per game while shooting 52.5% from the field in six November contests.

The Lakers are 5-7 without James and 7-4 with him in the lineup.

LeBron James Ejection
LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers is ejected from the game during the third quarter of the game against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena on November 21, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images
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