MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell taking extended leave after taxi accident

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Cable news commentator Lawrence O'Donnell is taking a leave of several weeks from his job as host of the MSNBC program "The Last Word" to recuperate from injuries he suffered in a taxi accident while vacationing abroad, the network said on Monday. O'Donnell, 62, and his brother, Michael, were both injured while out of the country on Saturday and have since been brought back to the United States for medical treatment, MSNBC said in a statement. The statement said both men were "under the care of doctors and expected to make a full recovery" -- Lawrence O'Donnell in New York City, his brother in Boston -- but the network gave no details of their condition. The statement also did not clarify whether the two men were in a taxi that crashed or were struck by a taxi, nor did it say where they were vacationing when the mishap occurred. "Our thoughts and support are with the O'Donnell family, and we look forward to having Lawrence back on the air soon," the MSNBC statement said. It added that daytime MSNBC anchor Alex Wagner and Ari Melber, co-host of afternoon talk show "The Cycle," will take turns filling in for O'Donnell on his weeknight news and opinion show, "The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell," during his absence. O'Donnell, who began his MSNBC tenure in 2009 as a regular contributor to the "Morning Joe" program with Joe Scarborough, is known for a sometimes-combative style that has led to a number of heated on-air clashes with guests or other commentators. He served as a congressional aide on Capitol Hill before bringing his real-life political experience to work as a screenwriter, producer and story editor for several years on NBC's acclaimed television political drama, "The West Wing." (Reporting by Steve Gorman; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)