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Dancing With the Stars: The Other Walking Wounded

Date April 11, 2012

Maria Menounos and Derek Hough

Melissa Gilbert, recovering from whiplash and a mild concussion, isn't the only one who should've been given the night off on Tuesday night's Dancing With the Stars.Extra host Maria Menounos could've used the time between her Monday night tango and Wednesday morning rehearsals for the next new dance to put her feet up, too. The 33-year-old has been in a world of hurt since the first week of competition, when she danced with two cracked ribs on her left side. Now she's got serious problems with the bones in both feet, and an actual stress fracture in one of them. 

"I don't want to stop, and that fuels me," says Menounos. But she's saying that from a seated position, sitting on the cold concrete floor outside the ballroom where the stars and their partners — normally standing — face a long line of journalists. "This has been going on since a week and a half into this. And while my feet really, really hurt, we don't want to talk about it."

"Maria Menounos has set the bar so high for pain tolerance, you really can't complain about anything," said Sherri Shepherd, who now only has to deal with the psychological pain of being the third celebrity to be voted off the show. "As soon as I start to complain about anything, I say, 'Maria has stress fractures and two cracked ribs.' So I'm fine."

What's surprising about Menounos' toughness is the fact that she's never once suffered a physical injury. "I've never been injured in my entire freaking life!" she says. "That's why this is so pathetic! I've wrestled in the WWE multiple times. I've played football with pro football players, hockey, basketball, everything, and I've never had an injury. And I play full out. I'm crazy." Then her partner, Derek Hough, reminds her that this is one contact sport she's never tried. "You've never danced," he tells her. "And it's no joke." She nods, agreeing with him. "It's no joke."

You may recall that in 2009, former Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay had to withdraw from the competition because of stress fractures in both feet. No wonder Hough is taking his partner on his back — literally. "I give her piggy back rides everywhere," he says. "I said, 'When you finish this [show], you're going to be a good dancer, but you're actually probably going to be a qualified MD. She comes in and she says, 'I'm gonna tape my foot up, I've got my bone stimulators.' She's drinking her milk, trying to get more calcium. She's a warrior."

But the warriors are still sitting on the floor, wondering if Menounos' feet will continue to carry her into battle.

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