During Tuesday afternoon’s rehearsals, Shannon Elizabeth’s Dancing With the Stars partner Derek Hough injured his neck and ended up in the hospital. And now, the American Pie star tells OK!, their status as a team is still up in the air.
“He hurt his neck in rehearsals for the Kyle Minogue number and went to the hospital,” Shannon told OK! at Tuesday’s results show. “He popped something. He has to be on painkillers. They say he’s going to be okay but it’s going to take some time to heal.”
Derek’s friend and fellow dancer Mark Ballas, who was on hand for the incident along with Derek’s sister (and last season’s pro champ) Julianne Hough, explained to OK! “It’s a move where we throw our heads down and then throw them back and his neck just went out. Luckily, there was no vertebra, disk, or spinal damage. It’s just a sprained muscle in the back.”
Regardless, the unfortunate injury leaves Shannon — who survived elimination with Derek tonight thanks to their high-energy jive routine on Monday — thinking she might need a new dance partner for next week. “It’s ballroom and he can’t turn his head to the left right now at all so I don’t know how he’ll be able to do this. [Derek] says he’s still going to choreograph it but we’ll have to get someone to step in and probably rehearse with me.
“It could be Jonathan [Roberts, who was recently eliminated with partner Monica Seles] or anyone who’s got some free time right now.”
A shaken Shannon added, “My main concern has been that he’s okay. If they told me I’d have to drop out right now, I’d be fine with that just because I want him to be okay because this is his career. This is his whole life. For me, it’s a show and when it’s over I don’t have to keep dancing. He does, so he needs to heal properly.”
Backstage after the results show, in which Steve Guttenberg went home, Derek sported a neck brace — and had to stop doing interviews so he could rest.
Meanwhile, his relieved sister and fellow competitor Julianne, who is teamed with Adam Carolla, told OK! “He’s living, which is good. We were actually really nervous when it first happened. We were kind of freaking out [but] it’s just a sprain.”
By Carole Glines