Fans of Dancing with the Stars saw first-hand on Monday how Kym Johnson injured herself while rehearsing with partner Hines Ward last week. Cameras caught Johnson as she fell to the floor during a complicated lift – which prompted a well-publicized trip to the hospital. The pro was in fine form Monday – indeed, the couple’s first dance earned a perfect score of 30 – but video of the rehearsal was excruciating to watch.
“I was sick,” Hines told reporters afterwards. “You never wanna see your partner…we’ve been together for 10 weeks and that Friday was the worst Friday ever, to see your partner carted off and just being in the hospital with her and going over the MRIs. You start contemplating, what could I have done? Could I have prevented the fall? You start second guessing yourself and then you put things in perspective. It was a trying week. To be honest with you, I didn’t even think about dancing. I was more concerned with her safety than anything.”
“I’m lucky,” Johnson added. “The doctors cleared me this morning to dance. It was a bit touch and go. I just felt so bad for Hines, you know, because we’ve come so far. It was my stupid fault. It was the semis, I was trying to put this move in. Now I learned a bit of a lesson. And Hines has just been incredible and carried me through that dance. I’m just really lucky and all our fans and Steelers Nation have been so supportive.”
Johnson was diagnosed with a sprain and left the hospital in a neck brace. “I can’t even remember what the doctor said,” she said.
“Sprained vertebrae,” Hines said. “It’s like the muscle between the vertebrae, C7.”
“C7, yeah,” Johnson continued. “I’m just lucky I took more of it on my shoulders as opposed to my neck. I was very lucky. went to the doctor this morning for the all clear. I just got out of my neck brace because he wanted me to keep it all good. But now I’ve got a bit more movement. And I’ve obviously modified the routines. There was a lot more tricks in it, but Hines is such a good dancer so we just relied on that. And I should have done it all along because it got us 10s.”
Thanks to a little help from Cheryl Burke, Ward was able to prepare for Monday’s performance show while his partner was recovering. He and Johnson still managed to rehearse over the weekend – with a few restrictions. “[I had the] neck brace on,” Johnson said. “I was just taking him through the moves,” she said. “I wasn’t really dancing properly. Today was the first day without the neck brace. All the doctors at Cedar Sinai were fantastic and they helped me get through today.
“I’ve never been so scared, I have to say.” – With reporting from Carrie Borzillo