NBC Sports anchor Bob Costas was replaced on the network's coverage of the Winter Olympics in Sochi Tuesday, due to his ongoing issue with pinkeye (conjunctivitis).
He was replaced by Matt Lauer, which is a somewhat curious choice considering NBC has more-than-capable "sports guys" like Al Michaels and Dan Patrick on deck.
“If it was just discomfort, I’d be there,” Costas said in a news release. “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.”
Costas is a pretty tough cat for being only 4-foot-3. He didn't flinch when a ripped Vince McMahon stared him down on his old "On the Record" show on HBO and, although flummoxed, he handled the news of his former friend, OJ Simpson, being chased by cops down a California freeway during the 1994 NBA Finals with relative grace. Therefore, it was somewhat surprising to see Costas take the night off even with his condition.
Lauer did the network's opening intro to NBC's primetime Olympics coverage Tuesday night and commented on Costas' absence.
"Matt Lauer in for Bob Costas ... he's been playing hurt with an eye infection and if anyone deserves the night off it's Bob ... he looked like the loser in a prize fight."
Follow Metro Boston sports editor and columnist Matt Burke on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS