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February 17, 2014 AT 3:30 PM
Bob Costas returns as host for NBC's prime-time Olympic coverage Tuesday night, if still not exactly clear-eyed, at least with a sharpened sense of respect for the colleagues and crew who covered for him during a six-day absence with an eye infection. Costas said in an interview with the Associated Press, "The doctors told me the infection has to run its course, which is 2-to-3 weeks, which covers the entire Olympics. It's the all-time perfect bad timing, but what can you do? It's a curve ball and you've got to go with it." Current ''Today'' show host Matt Lauer and former co-anchor Meredith Vieira subbed for Costas. It was the first time anyone except Costas had been the host of an Olympic primetime telecast on any American network since 1998.