Ripa told the studio and home audience that the 75-year-old Philbin was "joking around with the nurses" after undergoing surgery Wednesday, E! News said Thursday.
Doctors said Philbin should be back in front of the cameras in about five weeks.
While Philbin recovers, Ripa will sit beside a series of guest co-hosts, including MTV's Damien Fahey; actors Martin Short, Howie Mandel and Neil Patrick Harris; and game-show hosts Pat Sajak, Jeff Probst and Donald Trump.
Earlier this week, Ripa said that "Live!" would be her secondary job. Her No. 1 task, she said, would be Philbin's personal sponge bath nurse.
On Thursday's show, she reiterated her dedication to her top priority, announcing her co-host "nursy-poo is coming with her sponge."