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Brian Williams takes off from 'NBC Nightly News' for knee surgery

24 (tv program)Mary Lynn Rajskub

This just in: Brian Williams needs to take a break from "NBC Nightly News" to get a new right knee.

The 54-year-old anchor announced Thursday that he'll take a temporary medical leave starting next week for knee-replacement surgery. NBC's Lester Holt is expected to fill in during Williams' absence, which the network expects to last about three weeks but could stretch to three months. 

In Williams' case, the surgery is the result of an old high-school football injury.

The injury "reversed my knee – they don’t recommend that," Williams said in a story published on the "Nightly News" blog.

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"I’ve been in pain for 35 years," he added. "I loved playing a team sport. I loved every minute of football. I’ve paid a very high price for what’s been confirmed to be the single worst New Jersey High School Catholic League football career in history."

The knee pain was eventually so bad that it was interrupting his sleep, Williams said.

"I reached a point recently in the last 12 months where I decided this has to happen and to be mathematical about it, I've lived now most of my days so worst-case scenario, if this doesn't go perfectly well, which it will, it can't hurt more than it hurts now," he said.

What do you think of Williams and his surgery? Will you watch "Nightly News" without him?

[Updated, Aug. 1, 6:05 p.m.: An earlier version of this post said that Williams is getting "new knees." He's getting a new right knee. It also noted that his absence could last up to three months. It could, but the network expects it to last about three weeks.]

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