Associated Press
Dick Vitale

NEW YORK — Dick Vitale, the voice of college basketball for almost three decades, had vocal cord surgery Tuesday and is expected to be off the air until at least February.

The 68-year-old Vitale said on his Web site that he'll still give his take on college basketball through postings on and while he recuperates. He expects to return to the air in early February.

The surgery to treat ulcers on his left vocal cord was performed by Dr. Steven Zeitels at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

"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.

Vitale had never missed an assignment in his 28-plus seasons at ESPN.

"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