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ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale to have surgery on vocal cords

ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale to have surgery on vocal cords
ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale, shown Nov. 17, 2009, also has undergone cancer treatment this year. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Legendary college basketball analyst Dick Vitale won't return to ESPN this season as he prepares for surgery on his vocal cords.

In a story published to ESPN Front Row on Monday, Vitale wrote that he visited with Massachusetts General Hospital throat specialist Dr. Steven Zeitels and was advised to rest his voice in anticipation of undergoing surgery in the near future.

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"While I'm heartbroken that I won't appear on ESPN for the rest of this season, I'm encouraged by the progress," said Vitale, who will have the procedure to treat dysplasia and ulcerated lesions of the vocal cords.

Vitale noted that resting his vocal cords over the past three weeks has reduced the inflammation in his throat by 60%. Once the inflammation heals, a date will be set for Vitale's surgery.

"My throat's condition is clearly moving in the right direction, and 'Dr. Z' is very optimistic that this can be successfully treated to have me strong for the 2022-23 season on ESPN," Vitale said.

Vitale, who is one of ESPN's most prominent and recognizable college basketball analysts, also has undergone cancer treatment this year. He was diagnosed with lymphoma in October.

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The 82-year-old Vitale joined ESPN less than four months after the network launched in September 1979. He has served as the color analyst for more than 1,000 games with the network.

Vitale was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.

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