Television's Csi: Crime Scene Investigation will be short-staffed for a while - show regular George Eads has taken a leave of absence. The actor, who has portrayed forensic scientist Nick Stokes since the series began in 2000, is taking a break from the drama after appearing in the first three episodes of the upcoming 14th season, which begins in America next month (Sep13). A spokesman for the show says, "George Eads will not appear in several episodes during the first half of the season. We look forward to him returning to CSI very soon." It is not clear why the actor is taking a leave of absence, but reports suggest the news comes after he was involved in an altercation with a pregnant writer on the show. A representative for Eads has declined to comment. The actor briefly departed the show nine years ago (04) amid a salary dispute. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Eads' absence will be addressed in the fourth episode of the season when his former castmate Marg Helgenberger returns to the show for the landmark 300th episode.