Dick Vitale won't call rest of college basketball season for ESPN due to throat issue

ESPN college basketball announcer Dick Vitale says he will miss calling the rest of the season as he continues to deal with a throat issue.

Vitale, who was recently told to rest his voice, wrote on ESPN Front Row that leading throat specialist Steven Zeitel told him he likely will need surgery soon for dysplasia and ulcerated lesions of the vocal cords.

"While I’m heartbroken that I won’t appear on ESPN for the rest of this season, I’m encouraged by the progress," Vitale said. "In fact, it appears that by resting my voice for the past three weeks, I’ve reduced the inflammation by 60 percent. Let’s hope the added rest will help it heal some more, and things will look even better when I go for my next follow-up visit on Feb. 16."

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ABC/ESPN basketball analyst Dick Vitale before a Baylor-Villanova game in December.
ABC/ESPN basketball analyst Dick Vitale before a Baylor-Villanova game in December.

Vitale, 82, said that surgery will be scheduled once the inflammation heals and that Zeitel "is very optimistic that this can be successfully treated to have me strong for the 2022-23 season on ESPN."

Vitale was diagnosed with lymphoma in October, and he said in his post that his chemotherapy has been going well.

"Dick Vitale is rightfully synonymous with college basketball, and his absence from the telecasts the rest of this season will leave an irreplaceable void," Jimmy Pitaro, chairman of ESPN and sports content, said in a statement. "We at ESPN join the millions of fans who can’t wait to have him back calling games from inside arenas whenever he is ready."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Dick Vitale faces throat surgery, to miss rest of college hoops season