Vitale targets Feb. 4 'Mike & Mike' show as return to mic

ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale has been cleared to return to broadcasting after a successful surgery in December to treat ulcers on his left vocal cord.

A scope and analysis of Vitale's throat by Dr. Steven Zeitels in Boston revealed that the broadcaster has recovered sufficiently after the removal of the non-cancerous lesions.

"I was in tears when he asked me to speak my first words since the surgery," Vitale wrote in a letter to fans. "Believe me, it was very difficult to go 3½ weeks without speaking! When he had me count to 10, I was so relieved."

Vitale is scheduled to return to the "Mike & Mike in the Morning" ESPN Radio show on Feb. 4 and plans to call his first game on Feb. 6 between Duke and North Carolina (ESPN, 9 p.m. ET).

Zeitels performed the surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Before that,
Vitale, 68, had never missed an assignment since joining ESPN in 1979.