Melissa Rycroft Back on 'Dancing With the Stars' After Injury; Still Has Herniated Disc
Melissa Rycroft returned to "Dancing With the Stars: All Stars" on Monday night, despite a herniated disc in her upper neck after a head injury on Sunday.
Rushed to an L.A. hospital on Sunday after falling during rehearsals at CBS Studios, the former "Bachelor" contestant decided to dance in Week 5 even though she wasn't fully healed.
"I'm on a little medication right now," Rycroft said before the performance to Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe." "[But] I'm officially cleared to dance."
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Nevertheless, fans were concerned that Rycroft, who recently admitted she was fatigued, was back so soon after a serious injury.
The reality star has been getting rave reviews from judges each week, but the 29-year-old admits that since giving birth to her daughter, Ava Grace, last year her body isn't as flexible.
"I think [my dance partner] Tony Dovolani and I noticed right off the bat that my body is very different than it was," she told People. Rycroft, who used to be a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, says that her muscles just aren't moving the same way since giving birth. "Not necessarily shape-wise, but in how it moves, and how - more importantly - it doesn't want to move anymore. I think my hips are mad at me from what they went through. The flexibility is gone. I'm fighting a little bit more, but you know, we'll get there."
Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyd pulled ahead with 29.5 points for their rumba to Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You." "It should be Oscar nominated!" judge Len Goodman said. "It had everything."
The judges were less enthusiastic about Val Chmerkovskiy's and Kelly Monaco's samba, which only received 24.5 points. Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Kirstie Alley, who performed to "Mrs. Robinson," gained a small lead with 25.5 points for their quickstep.
Rycroft participated in a freestyle team routine with Shawn Johnson, Sabrina Bryan, Apolo Ohno and their partners. This week's episode was formatted differently. In light of the presidential debate, there will be two one-hour shows Monday and Tuesday.
Couples will dance twice this week, putting added pressure on Rycroft's already-weakened muscles. On Monday night, four couples did routines to their "guilty pleasures" songs. The other four couples danced freestyle in a team. They will reverse it on Tuesday night.
Though Rycroft has always been confident, she understands her weaknesses. "Technically I'm not as perfect as some of the others," she said. "I look more messy. But I think I have a great personality. Tony and I turn the routine into a performance. Week one, we put on a scene from "Chicago," a Broadway show. That's where Tony and I can capitalize on our strength, our ability to entertain people."
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