‘NBC Nightly News’ Anchor Brian Williams to Take Hiatus for Knee Surgery

Lester Holt will cover for him in his absence

A high school football injury is going to take Brian Williams off the air — temporarily.

Williams announced on Thursday that he's having total knee replacement surgery and will be out while he recovers. "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," he said.

Also read: ABC's 'World News With Diane Sawyer' Scores First Demo Win Over NBC's Brian Williams Since 2008

"I reached a point recently in the last 12 months where I decided this has to happen," he said. "If this doesn't go perfectly well, which it will, it can't hurt more than it hurts now."

His last day behind the "Nightly News" desk — at least for several weeks — will be in the middle of next week. Lester Holt will fill in for Williams while he's recovering.

"Nightly News" recently fell to "ABC World News with Diane Sawyer" in the 25-54 demo for the first time since 2008.