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Talk about a string of bad luck — Dancing With the Stars pro dancer Derek Hough, the partner of actress Shannon Elizabeth on the current season of the hit show, was rushed to the hospital for a second time in two weeks!

Derek, who suffered a neck injury on April 2 but made a miracle comeback to perform with Shannon on last Monday’s show, tells OK! he was taken down by a bout with food poisoning yesterday after drinking a protein shake.

The DWTS pro was taken to the hospital, but managed to recover just in time to be able to perform the samba on Monday’s performance show. “I’m feeling much better," Derek told OK! backstage afterward. "It’s a weird, freak thing that happened.”

A relieved Shannon joked to OK! about her partner’s travails: “I think I’m getting used to it. Three producers walk in the trailer together and I was like, ‘Oh God.’ They’re like, ‘He went to the hospital.’ ”

While her partner was being tended to by doctors, Shannon rehearsed with Derek’s substitute, Jonathan Roberts, who had been eliminated earlier this season with his celebrity partner Monica Seles. But by air time, Derek felt like he didn’t need Jonathan to step in with Shannon — and the show must go on. “You’ve just got to bite the bullet and go out and do it,” he said.

“I was worried I might throw up," Derek added. "But I was feeling a lot better by 4:30 p.m. and I was pretty confident."

The seemingly jinxed pairing earned 23 out of 30 points for their samba. But despite the mediocre score, Derek’s medical emergencies seem to have drawn the dance partners even closer together.

Shannon, who’s an animal lover, was shown petting Derek like a dog on a DWTS clip. “He’s my little dog I rescue and take care of,” she laughed.

By Carole Glines

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