Maksim Chmerkovskiy has become the first casualty this season on Dancing With the Stars. Chmerkovskiy, who is competing on the ABC celebrity ballroom competition with Glee actress Heather Morris, is sidelined this week after pulling his calf muscle during rehearsals.
Maksim has not yet revealed the severity of his injury, but DWTS troupe member Alan Bersten will step in to dance with Morris during the live show on Monday night, according to ABC News. Bersten previously filled in for Mark Ballas when he was injured.
Good Morning America aired video of Maksim’s injury in which he said he felt like something “hit” his calf muscle. Chmerkovskiy also posted a message to his fans on Instagram, revealing that Heather will have to “hold it down for both of us” while he cheers her on from the sidelines.
Sorry I was MIA. Tune in to @dancingabc today and all will be explained. Tough show for #teamMaksimumHeat and @heatherrelizabethh would have to hold it down for both of us. Please show her your love and support while I work on getting my ass back to the ballroom. #DidNotSeeThisComing #WillBeBackBetterThanEver
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Maksim and Heather scored 28 points or their premiere night Viennese waltz, but their very respectable first score didn’t come easy. In an interview with Hollywood Life, Maksim Chmerkovskiy said his partner is struggling with the ballroom steps, despite her extensive dance background.
“We definitely have a lot of room to improve, without a doubt,” Chmerkovskiy told Hollywood Life ahead of the DWTS premiere. “I’m not being cute about this. It’s hard for her. We keep banging knees! I thought I broke my knee. I swear to God, I thought I broke her knee, and then when she looked at me, she was like ‘Are you ok?’ I’m like ‘How are you standing?’ I’m crying, my soul was hurting. We have our share of issues.”
While Maksim admitted it bothers him that some people feel his partner has an unfair advantage (Morris once worked as a backup dancer for Beyonce), he says he’s not letting the haters get him down.
“Heather’s excited for the opportunity, and I’m going to be fueling that excitement,” Chmerkovskiy said. “I’m not going to be looking at her like ‘you have an advantage. It’s not fair.'”
In a recent interview with Vulkan magazine, Maksim, who’s competing on Dancing With the Stars for the 15th time, said he is proud of all of his celebrity partners. Maksim has been paired with everyone from soccer pro Hope Solo to reality star Amber Rose, and he won the mirrorball trophy once, with Olympic ice dancer Meryl Davis.
While Chmerkovskiy also admitted he’s not the easiest dance teacher in the world, he admitted he is trying a new approach this season with Morris.
“Heather Morris is a different type of partnership,” Maksim told Vulkan.
“She has experience with dance and we’re not hiding it, we just want an opportunity to be amazing…I’ve been thinking about it and I’m just so happy that a person with a background in dance has become a celebrity and been invited on the show…we’ve come so far!“
On her blog for People magazine, Morris revealed that she was initially surprised to find out that her DWTS partner would be Maksim Chmerkovskiy, but now she is especially happy to work with him because he “gets” what it’s like to be an exhausted parent. Heather is a mom to two young children, while Maksim just welcomed baby Shai Aleksandr, his first child with fiancée Peta Murgatroyd, two months ago.
“Let’s be real, there’s nothing’s worse than having to go into work with a young, strapping man without kids who doesn’t understand why I’m UTTERLY EXHAUSTED after my son was up for two hours crying the night before,” Heather wrote. “Maks gets it, thank the Lord.”
Morris also revealed that Chmerkovskiy is “a big teddy bear.”
Take a look at the video below to see Maksim Chmerkovskiy dancing with Heather Morris on Dancing With the Stars.
[Featured Image by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]