“Break a leg!” takes on a whole new meaning when you sign up for Dancing With the Stars. It’s a dangerous place, that ballroom. Just look at Olympian Dorothy Hamill! One day she has a cyst on her foot, and the next she drops out of Season 16 completely due to a pre-existing spinal injury. But she's not the first DWTS contestant to fall victim to her injuries. Anyone remember Maria Menounos’ poor broken ribs and stress fractured feet? Let’s look back at some of the celebs who got so busted up they had to drop out of the show completely. And it turns out the pros are human too — a few of our favorites have had to take episode breaks to deal with illnesses. Wimps! (Kidding!)
Romeo Miller, Season 2
Romeo is only 22, but six years ago he was supposed to be the youngest-ever DWTS contestant — but had to pull out before the premiere when he injured his ankle. His brave father, Master P, filled in for him and … well … it was brave of him. Let’s leave it at that. Romeo redeemed the family name when he returned to DWTS on Season 12 and helped pro Chelsie Hightower earn her first ever “10.”
Vincent Pastore, Season 4
Actor Vincent Pastore of The Sopranos was originally supposed to dance with Edyta Sliwinska, but even though spending time with Edyta is prized by any man, Vincent pulled out after one week of rehearsals, citing his inability to commit to the physical demands of the program. Cheers actor John Ratzenberger filled in for Vincent instead.
Misty May-Treanor, Season 7
Sara Evans quit the show during Season 3, but that was for personal reasons after filing for divorce, not because she got hurt. Olympic volleyball player Misty May-Treanor was the first contestant to leave the show during the season because of an injury. Misty ruptured her Achilles tendon during a training session and withdrew from the competition on Week 3, leaving poor Maksim Chmerkovskiy without a partner.
Julianne Hough, Season 7
Pro dancer Julianne Hough was rushed to the hospital after a Season 7 Results Show because of strong stomach pains. She was diagnosed with endometriosis and had to undergo surgery to remove her appendix. Her celeb partner, Cody Linley, had to dance with Edyta Sliwinska for Weeks 7 and 8.
Jewel and Nancy O’Dell, Season 8
It was something of a trend to bow out of DWTS before Season 8 even started. This was supposed to be the season where a husband and wife competed against each other — singer Jewel and her hubby Ty Murray. But Jewel fractured both her tibias and was unable to perform, so she was replaced by Holly Madison. Nancy O’Dell was also supposed to dance but she ended up with a torn meniscus which required surgery, so she was replaced by Melissa Rycroft, who was hot off The Bachelor Season 13.
Tom DeLay, Season 9
Former U.S. House Majority leader Tom DeLay left after Week 3 because of a possible stress fracture in his foot that was bugging him just before the premiere developed into full stress fractures in both feet. He wasn’t a spring chicken like Maria Menounos and his doctor advised him to leave the show. Our eyeballs advised the same thing.
Derek Hough and Lacey Schwimmer, Season 9
We knew the pros were sick dancers, but … before the Week 5 show, Derek Hough got sick with the flu and Maksim Chmerkovskiy stepped in to dance with Derek’s partner, Joanna Krupa. Before the Week 7 show, Lacey Schwimmer also got sick and Anna Trebunskaya stepped in to dance with Lacey’s partner, Mark Dacascos.
Ryan O’Neal, Season 13
What happened to Ryan O’Neal? He was supposed to compete on Season 13 but his knees weren’t ready for the stress, so Carson Kressley danced in his place. But Ryan said he was going to return and dance this season. So where is he?
Catch the next new episode of Dancing With the Stars 2013 on Monday, March 1 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
Gina Carbone is a contributing writer at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @ginacarbone.