Inside Sharna Burgess' Dancing with the Stars Injury: 'I Was Scared to Death'
"When I fell, it was pure panic," says the pro dancer
For a dancer, there may be nothing scarier than an injury.
“My knees are my money-makers, so I really don’t want to lose one,” pro dancer Sharna Burgess told PEOPLE after Monday’s Dancing with the Stars, where she wore a knee brace after falling in dress rehearsal earlier in the day.
The injury occurred while Burgess and her partner James Hinchcliffe rehearsed their group routine with Artem Chigvintsev and Maureen McCormick, Cheryl Burke and Ryan Lochte, and Lindsay Arnold and Calvin Johnson — and PEOPLE has exclusive footage of the fall.
“When I fell, it was pure panic,” said Burgess. “I’ve had an ACL reconstruction on that very same knee, so I was scared to death. In that split moment, you think 1,000 things, but I got up and tried to figure it out.”
The dancer feared she would have to drop out of the competition, but after working with the show’s physical therapist, “they realized there’s no tear, there’s no major swelling,” says Burgess, who will get an MRI Tuesday and plans on having fellow pro Jenna Johnson help in rehearsals during the coming week.
Still, the dancer blames herself for Hinchcliffe receiving 9s instead of 10s from the judges Monday.
“James couldn’t go as full out as we’d been practicing because he was taking care of me,” she said. “Where we did have a little foot fiddle was where I put a lot of pressure on that one knee. He was just trying to guide me and take care of me. My weight was off balance, that put him off balance. It was a ricochet affect that messed up his timing. It was all my fault.”
Hinchcliffe, however, could not be happier with his partner.
“She’s such a trouper and got us through two routines tonight,” he said. “It just shows what a champion this girl really is.”
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.