Messing Sidelined from 'Will & Grace'

03/31/2004 AT 05:29 PM EST

There's no "Will & Grace" without Grace -- or is there?

NBC's popular sitcom is soldiering on without the assistance from redheaded actress Debra Messing who portrays Grace on the series, Reuters reports.

Messing, 35, is eight months pregnant and has been ordered to stay off her feet, according to an NBC spokesman. In fact, she has been absent from the set for the past three weeks, and is not expected to appear in the series' last four episodes.

A spokeswoman for Messing said that there were no complications with the pregnancy, but that Messing's physician had ordered the actress off her feet. The doctor "ordered her to be careful and take it easy, and preferably bed rest," the spokeswoman said.

As a result, she has been written out of the season's final episodes, including the one-hour finale, which airs April 29 and will guest-star Jennifer Lopez. The episode reportedly centers on the marriage of Karen (Megan Mullally). Grace's absence from the wedding has not been entirely explained yet, although the finale is being shot this week.

The show, now in its sixth season, has raised some eyebrows this year as Messing, who is due at the end of April, has grown increasingly larger. Producers tried to hide her condition with baggy clothes and camera angles that downplayed her size, but that hardly fooled most viewers.

Messing, who won an Emmy Award for the role of Grace last season, is married to screenwriter Daniel Zelman. This will be their first child.

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