US NBA Star LaVine Gets Olympics All Clear After COVID-19 Scare

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Updated July 21, 2021
(FILES) In this file photo taken on July 17, 2021 Usman Garuba #16 of Spain catches a pass under pressure from Zach LaVine #5 of the United States during an exhibition game at Michelob ULTRA Arena ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)


Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine was given the all-clear to travel to Tokyo for the Olympics Wednesday after being placed into Covid-19 safety protocols this week.

The 26-year-old, who played in all four of the United States’ recent exhibition matches in Las Vegas, averaging 10.8 points and 2.5 rebounds, was sidelined on Monday.

USA Basketball said at the time he did not travel with the three-time defending champions to Japan “out of an abundance of caution” after starting Covid-19 health and safety measures.

But it did not say if he contracted the virus or was being kept back for contact tracing.

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“US Olympic men’s basketball team member Zach LaVine has cleared USA Basketball’s health and safety protocols and will join the USA team in Tokyo Thursday afternoon,” USA Basketball said in a statement Wednesday, without giving further details.

The US squad has already lost Washington guard Bradley Beal after he was placed into Covid-19 protocols, and center Kevin Love to a calf injury.

The Americans added Denver Nuggets center JaVale McGee and San Antonio Spurs guard Keldon Johnson to replace Beal and Love.

The US squad, which opens its Olympic campaign on Sunday against France, is set to add three more players in coming days following the conclusion of the NBA Finals — Phoenix guard Devin Booker and Milwaukee’s Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton.