Dickie V sidelined by surgery until at least February

Updated: December 19, 2007, 12:50 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale underwent surgery Tuesday to treat ulcers on his left vocal cord and is expected to be off the airwaves until at least February.

One-Of-A-Kind Takes A TO

Prior to undergoing surgery in Boston, Dick Vitale wanted his "favorite people, all of the fans who make college basketball special!" to know that he'd be off the air for a while. Read his letter here.
• Drop Dickie V a note

Vitale will continue to provide his observations on ESPN.com and his own Web site, dickvitaleonline.com, while he recuperates.

"College basketball fans will miss Dick's enthusiasm in the coming weeks. But we are delighted to learn his surgery was a success and we all wish him a speedy recovery," ESPN president George Bodenheimer said in a statement.

The surgery was performed by Dr. Steven Zeitels at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Vitale, 68, had never missed an assignment since joining ESPN in 1979.

"The past six weeks have been very emotional [for] me and for my family as we've visited some of the most outstanding throat specialists," Vitale said in a letter posted on ESPN.com. "Visiting college campuses and interacting with the fans has kept me so young and energized. I can't wait to get back out there, having a blast with all of you, who are so vital to our game."

Vitale, who coached at the University of Detroit and for less than a season with the NBA's Detroit Pistons, was a finalist for the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in 2004, 2006 and 2007.

In addition to his broadcasting career, Vitale has become an avid fundraiser and is personally responsible for raising millions of dollars for the V Foundation, a cancer research foundation named for his close friend, Jim Valvano.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.