Astute WCBS-TV news viewers have noticed Pablo Guzman is missing. The popular reporter, who joined Channel 2 in 1995, remains on the station’s Web site.
After reaching out to WCBS for a comment, FishbowlNY was pleasantly surprised when Guzman called to explain his M.I.A status.
He’s been suffering from blood clots in the leg, keeping him off the air since June.
“I can’t chase after people in the street,” Guzman tells FishbowlNY exclusively. “I can’t run up and down six flights of stairs. A lot of what we do in the street, I can’t do.”
Guzman’s left foot is double the size of his right foot. So Guzman is convalescing at home, which is no easy feat for him.
“I have not been out of work since I was 13,” Guzman says.
A two-time New York Emmy Award winner, Guzman misses his colleagues and the ability to communicate a story to viewers. However, that would not have applied to covering one particular tragedy.
“I could not have done that Newtown [story],” Guzman says. “I would have broken up.”
Guzman, 62, says WCBS management is hoping to keep the street-savvy reporter in their future plans.
Just three weeks ago, news director David Friend and the head of human resources visited Guzman for the first time.
“I held my breath. I didn’t know really what was coming,” Guzman says.
Friend told Guzman that even though the station had to move forward, they still want to have him back.
Since the diagnosis, Guzman had a pair of surgeries, physical therapy, and learned to use “F.D.R.” crutches.
“We thought there was a light at the end of the tunnel,” Guzman remembers.
A hopeful and healthy WCBS return would be dashed each month. Ultimately, he was dealt a setback with more blood clot complications.
Another ultrasound ensued, and the “final” clot was found.
“It’s organized itself around your vein, meaning it’s semi-attached itself,” the surgeon told Guzman. “It’s learned how to adapt and it is screwing with the way blood flows to your leg.”
Rather than a third time under the knife, he’s been given a regimen of blood thinners.
“It’s been slow,” Guzman admits. “There’s some progress when they measure it, the swelling is not quite as big as it was a few months ago.”
He is walking on his own power, without any aids. But any long distance jaunts take their toll on him. Even sitting isn’t always simple, having to constantly stretch his leg.
In May 2008, Guzman survived a one-car accident on the Cross County Parkway that left him with two broken ribs. Just two months later, Guzman stared down death again, suffering a heart attack in his Westchester County home. He needed emergency angioplasty surgery.
But Guzman, who has no family history of blood clots, doesn’t believe his recent health problems are a factor.
“It seems like a lot of what happened to me had to do with, kind of like what happened to [NBC’s] David Bloom,” Guzman says. “The time that I spent in cars and trucks, and it just affected me in a certain way.
“Anything going on with me, by coincidence, is like another CBS guy but it’s not the same thing,” Guzman says.
He is alluding to the “busy” month at West 57th, with Don Dahler heading to CBS News, Sean Hennessey leaving to become an associate professor in Boston, and the “black eye” of the CBS eye, Rob Morrison resigning after an alleged wife-beating incident last month.
Unlike any of those former colleagues, Guzman says station brass, including WCBS managing editor Dan Forman, who worked with Guzman at WNBC, is exploring the idea of having him work from the newsroom.
“Let’s say I work for a while like that in a limited way and then the swelling really increases,” Guzman says. “Medically, they have to wonder about being liable even if I check off on it.”
An exact timetable for resuming his TV reporter career, as you can probably gather, is not known.
“I just have to let it happen without forcing it,” Guzman says.
Guzman squelched any thought of retiring, saying he loves the job, and needs the salary.
“First off, let’s get practical, I don’t make Matt Lauer money,” Guzman admits. “I have to work. I live paycheck to paycheck like the majority of Americans.”
While waiting and healing, Guzman has caught up on movies and TV shows, but “that gets old.”
“I do have to say that one silver lining has been reconnecting with my son , my daughter , and my wife,” Guzman says. “The jobs we have are not nine-to-five jobs and I was gone a lot, and I missed a lot.”