(USA TODAY) - An injury is forcing one of the biggest stars of the Olympics to the sidelines, at least temporarily.
Bob Costas announced Tuesday morning on Today that his eye infection, which has since spread to both eyes, will force him to miss Tuesday night's primetime performance. (The vodka shot with Mary Carillo apparently didn't help.) Today host Matt Lauer will replace him.
It will be the first time since 1998 that someone other than Costas will host a primetime Olympic telecast on NBC. Jim Nantz was the last person besides Costas to host an Olympic primetime telecast on any network. He led coverage of the 1998 Nagano Olympics for CBS.
Costas called into Today and spoke on the phone with Matt Lauer, who asked how Costas was doing.
Costas: "Well, even worse than when you saw me this morning, Sochi time. So, reluctantly, I was trying to throw a complete game here, but I think we're going to have to go to the bullpen. I don't know if you're aware of this or not, but you're Mariano Rivera, at least tonight."
Lauer: "So, I'm going to step in for you tonight, the master of Olympic primetime?"
Costas: "I believe that's it. Let's hope it's only tonight because right now I'm walking around and might as well be playing Marco Polo. I have no idea where I am."
When asked if he had any tips for Lauer, Costas gave him one.
"Just remember, Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov," Costas said, sounding out the names slowly. "There's your Russian dancing pair."
Lauer thanked him, then shared how he'll be prepping to fill in for NBC's Olympic ringleader.
"I will be doing the shots of vodka, starting in 15 minutes."
In a statement released by NBC, Costas explained the decision to sit out for the night.
"As a practical matter, I simply couldn't do my job because my eyes had become so blurry, watery and sensitive to light. I'm hopeful the symptoms will improve in the next couple of days and I can return to the broadcast. Also, the last thing I want is to go through the rest of my life owing Matt Lauer a bunch of favors."
NBC joked that Costas is listed as "day-to-day" on its injury report.