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Winter Olympics: Costas' eye infection spreads, will miss tonight's broadcast (updates with Costas statement)

By Ken Schott
Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Bob Costas won't be hosting tonight's prime-time and late-night NBC Winter Olympics coverage.

An infection in his left eye that has plagued Costas since the start of the Games last Thursday has now spread to his right eye. He had been wearing glasses during the broadcasts.

"Today" co-host Matt Lauer will replace Costas tonight. It’s the first time since 1988 that someone other than Costas will host the Olympic prime-time show on NBC. Costas hosted for 157 straight nights.

"We’re going to the bullpen and you’re Mariano Rivera," Costas told Lauer.

In statement issued by NBC Sports media relations, Costas said, "It was becoming increasingly noticeable and uncomfortable, but if it was just that, I would have continued. We in broadcasting are lucky to have the jobs we do, and at one time or another, we’ve all gone on the air feeling less than our best.

"The difference is that last night and into this morning, it got to the point where, as a practical matter, I simply couldn’t do my job because my eyes had become so blurry, watery and sensitive to light.

"If it was just discomfort, I’d be there. I’m receiving excellent treatment…it’s a viral infection, and all you can do is try to manage the symptoms while the virus runs its course. But I’m hopeful that those symptoms will improve in the next couple of days and I can return to the broadcast.

"Also, the last thing I want is to go through the rest of my life owing Matt Lauer a bunch of favors."

Prime-time coverage starts at 7:30 p.m., and can be seen on WNYT (Ch. 13).

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