Ernie Johnson: Blood Clots to Keep Play-By-Play Man Away From MLB Postseason

Getty Images Ernie Johnson during the 2008 MLB postseason.

Ernie Johnson won’t be handling play-by-play duties for TBS broadcasts of the MLB postseason for the first time in almost a decade.

Doctors discovered blood clots in the veteran Turner Sports and CBS Sports broadcaster’s legs. On Monday morning, Johnson announced on Instagram that he’d be sidelined for the playoffs.

Ernie Johnson Won’t Cover MLB Postseason

“Hey everybody, it’s that time of year again,” said Johnson, who also covers the NBA, college basketball, and golf. “Baseball’s postseason. It’s a great time of year. But this year I’m not going to be able to be part of it on TBS and I felt like I should at least let you know what’s going on. Went to the doctor the other day, had a physical, and they discovered blood clots in both of my legs. The doctors have advised me against flying, they put me on blood thinners. Talked to the bosses at Turner, lots of discussions with my family and the best course of action is to stay grounded at this point. Not fly, and during this time, when you’re doing the playoffs, there are a lot of flights in a compressed time.

“Blood clots are nothing to be messed with. So as tough as it is for me to miss baseball’s postseason, it’s the thing to do. So I’m gearing up, staying on the ground, getting ready for basketball season, but I’ll be watching the playoffs. Brian Anderson, Don Orsillo, two of the great play-by-play guys in baseball, and I’m sure they will do a wonderful job and you’ll enjoy listening to them.”

Johnson began covering the MLB playoffs for TBS as a studio host in 2007. He moved into the broadcast booth in 2010.

Johnson Is a Survivor

This is not Johnson’s first health scare. The 61-year-old was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a form of cancer, in 2003, but he continued his work as a broadcaster through June 2006. Then h missed TNT’s coverage of the British Open and the PGA Championship before returning to his gig as the host of TNT’s “Inside the NBA” on October 31 later that year while he was still undergoing chemotherapy.

“When the summer began [they] said, ‘Don’t worry about doing golf, don’t worry about doing college football,”‘ Johnson told the Associated Press in October 2006. “‘Focus on this, get better, if you can come back for basketball, welcome back.’ There was never any pressure.”

During his struggle, he received an abundance of support from fans and peers.

“There have been 100 people who have said to me this summer — at least 100 — they always want to know how Ernie’s doing,” Turner and CBS basketball analyst Charles Barkley told the Associated Press in 2006. “I was calling Ernie pretty much once a week just to check on him. And it’s been so many people who wanted me to wish Ernie the best. It’s been amazing.”

Johnson recalled in a 2017 interview with Yahoo Sports: “[Barkley and fellow Turner hoops analyst Kenny Smith] said, ‘Anything you need, I’m here.’ That’s always been the way Charles and Kenny have been and the way all of us are with each other. These are my brothers. We’d all do anything for each other.”

According to Sports Illustrated, Johnson prefers not to say that he “beat cancer,” instead describing himself as a “survivor.”

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