Matt Lauer Expected to Return to Today This Week

Matt Lauer Expected to Return to Today This Week
Matt Lauer
Splash News Online

03/24/2009 AT 12:55 PM EDT

Matt Lauer remained "a little groggy" Tuesday morning, following surgery the day before to repair his separated shoulder, but was "shaking it off like a trouper," said a Today show executive.

Jim Bell told Ryan Seacrest on his KIIS-FM radio show that he spoke with Lauer Tuesday, just days after the show host crashed his bike after slamming on his brakes to avoid a deer. Bell expected Lauer would return to the show before the end of the week – and even made several jokes about the incident.

"I'm hopeful if not [Wednesday] by Thursday or Friday at the latest – so our national nightmare will soon be over," he said.

Lauer, 51, could have opted to postpone surgery, to see if the injury would heal on its own, Bell said.

Golf Sparked Surgery

"[Matt] said this was the right call, his doctors told him that," Bell said. "As you probably know, golf is very important to Matt. He didn't want to face the prospect of swinging a golf club in pain for the rest of his days.

"So he had a little surgery and as anybody knows who's ever been under the knife, it's not a lot of fun."

Bell joked that the show's staff was concerned Lauer might not "be able to get a tie on," but said the objective for the crew now is "frankly, we're going to get that deer."

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