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Bob Costas returns to host prime time Olympics coverage after eye infection

Feb. 17, 2014 at 7:57 AM ET

Video: After sitting out a few days due to eye irritation, during which he was replaced by Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira, NBC’s Bob Costas is returning to prime-time coverage duties for the Sochi Olympics on NBC.

Bob Costas is ready to get back in the anchor chair.

The veteran NBC sportscaster, who was sidelined from his duties as Olympics anchor by an eye infection that spread to both eyes and made it extremely difficult for him to be around the bright lights of the studio, will return to lead the coverage in prime time on Monday night.

TODAY's Matt Lauer and former TODAY anchor Meredith Vieira have both stepped in to fill his shoes during his recovery.

"I'm glad to be back, and I want to thank Matt and Meredith for doing such a good job in filling in,'' Costas said by phone on TODAY Monday. "I really feel bad, especially (for) Matt. Meredith was twiddling her thumbs a little bit, let's be honest, but Matt was doing double duty. Back and forth to the mountains and an hour's sleep, and now he holds so many chips on me on his side of the table. I owe him so many favors. That's the worst part of the whole thing." 

While Costas has returned, the redness in his eyes has apparently not fully subsided. He will once again be wearing glasses on Monday night. 

"I'm not 100 percent, that's for sure, but if I waited until I was 100 percent, the Olympics would be over,'' he said. "So if the audience can put up with still a little bit of red eyes hiding behind the glasses, then I can put up with it for the next week, too." 

"Bob was actually at the set last night, and I looked at him there and I thought, 'Wait a minute. You're well enough to come into the set, but I'm still doing the show?' I don't get this,'' Lauer joked on TODAY. "But he does look much better. A little bit still irritated. The crew, everybody over there, is egging to have you back, so that's the best news we've had all week." 

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