LeBron James scored 23 points in his return to action in the Lakers’ 119-115 loss to the Clippers Friday evening at Staples Center after he missed one game due to the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols.

“I never, ever felt sick at all,” James said. “I know you can be asymptomatic but if what I had was a positive COVID test then what are we doing? I thought it was handled very poorly.”

Being cleared to play “was a definite breath of fresh air not only for myself but for my family and friends,” James said.

James was placed in the protocols Tuesday, “after a series of tests delivered conflicting results, including an initial positive test that was collected on” Monday, according to a league statement released Thursday.

Additional testing confirmed James did not test positive, the statement said.

In accordance with the NBA’s coronavirus protocols, 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, the statement said.

As a result, James underwent additional testing on Tuesday, with one test returning a negative result and a second test resulting in a clinically inconclusive result, the statement said.

Because of the protocols, James was forced to miss Tuesday’s 117-92 victory at Sacramento.

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