Lakers' LeBron James clears NBA's COVID-19 health and safety protocols, eligible to return Friday vs. Clippers

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has been cleared from the NBA’s healthy and safety protocols and will be available to play in Friday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers, the league announced Thursday.

James entered the health and safety protocols on Tuesday after a positive test, which turned out to be a false positive, according to the league.

"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," the league said in a statement.

"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.

LeBron James has played in 11 of the Lakers' 23 games so far this season.

"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."

On Wednesday, James tweeted, "Something is REAL (fishy) going on," with several emojis of fish and a fishing rod.

A player enters the health and safety protocols with either a positive or inconclusive test and must remain in isolation unless he returns two negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

Initially, it was believed James would miss at least four games due to the protocols. Instead, he missed only Tuesday’s 117-92 victory against the Sacramento Kings.

The 12-11 Lakers need a healthy James and a much better Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook if they are to escape the average basketball they have played so far this season.

Follow Jeff Zillgitt on Twitter @JeffZillgitt.