After living with chronic pain in his right knee for 35 years, Williams decided it was time for a knee replacement. He told viewers that he would be out for a few weeks so he could recuperate from the procedure. Weekend anchor Lester Holt has been filling in for Williams by hosting the weekday programs of "NBC Nightly News."
Williams took to the broadcast's webpage to update viewers on his condition. He also wrote about his eagerness to get back to the anchor chair:
As I told David Letterman a few weeks ago on his show: my goal is to come back to work way too early in my recovery, and try to anchor Nightly News while gooned on pain medication. Of course I was kidding -- but it is true that I am anxious to get back in the game just as soon as I am able.
Williams has been recuperating from the surgery in Ocean County, N.J., and said that he has become quite interested in local news:
For now, I’ve developed an acute interest in local news -- specifically, the deaths of two dozen dolphins along the New Jersey shore over the past few weeks. It is a great thrill (and has been as far back as I can remember) to stand on our favorite beach at sunset and spot a small group of dolphins swimming together just offshore. Scientists fear that a fatal virus is spreading among the dolphins from the Jersey Shore south to Virginia, and a lot of good people are scrambling to find out more and protect these wonderful animals. Worrying about their livelihood and well-being has been a welcome distraction from worrying about my own. I am confident that they will triumph and prosper, perhaps because of my strong belief in the restorative powers of this stretch of coastline.