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Legendary ESPN college basketball color commentator Dick Vitale announced Monday that he won’t be returning to the sidelines for the remainder of the 2021-22 season.
Vitale, 82, has been on vocal rest since December after being diagnosed with Dysplasia. Dicky V initially was to be out for at least eight weeks, but a visit to Dr. Steven Zeitels confirmed that Vitale will soon need surgery.
“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. Once the inflammation heals, we will set a date for surgery.”
Vitale added that he plans to return for the 2022-23 season, which will be his 42nd year at the “Worldwide Leader in Sports.”
Vitale initially defied the odds after his Lymphoma diagnosis in October, which sidelined him for the start of the season. He made his return just one month later, on the call for Gonzaga vs. UCLA in Las Vegas on Nov. 23.
An emotional Vitale thanked everyone for their support just before tip-off.
The support has continued to rain down from fans, who have missed the voice of college basketball this season. In what has been perhaps the most challenging time of his career, Vitale once again expressed his gratitude for everyone that’s reached out to him.
“You know I am an eternal optimist who acts like he’s a teenager,” Vitale said. “Yet there is no doubt these past five months have been emotionally and physically frustrating. I am so appreciative of the love and care demonstrated by the incredible members of the medical community.
“And I will be forever grateful for the calls, texts, and social media expressions of encouragement from friends, colleagues, fans, media and members of my ESPN family. I love people, and I’m honored to receive such overwhelming support.”
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2 CommentsLeave a Reply
Would it be fair to consider Dick Vitale – The John Madden of College Basketball? IMO, he has become a caricature of himself but after 40 years of “being Dick Vitale” I suppose that is to be expected.
Best to Mr. Vitale. No one loved the sport he was covering more that him and it showed. He’s also a decent guy and always a class act.