Dancing With the Stars contestant DeMarcus Ware may have been able to play off his finger injury to earn some high scores from the judges, but the retired NFL player told Access Wednesday that the resulting pain was some of the most intense in his life.
Fans learned of Ware's dislocated finger in the Oct. 15 episode of the ABC dance competition, during which DWTS alum Rashad Jennings joined Ware and pro partner Lindsay Arnold to practice their Paso Doblé to "Fire" by Barns Courtney for "Trios" week.
When Jennings and Ware went to bump chests, Jennings accidentally kicked Ware directly in the finger, resulting in a emergency room visit. In Ware and Arnold's Access interview, the hosts noticed that the athlete still had his finger bandaged.
"It hurt so bad," Ware admitted, saying of the horrified Jennings, "We're buddy buddy right now, but during that time, it's one of the most painful things I've ever been through."
He added, "And Lindsay thought I was playing around. Because the finger was bent the other way. ... Usually you think it's jammed, and you just hold it but it's going out the other way. And I'm like, 'You know what, let's go to the ER,' and Lindsay's like, 'Stop playing.'"
In Arnold's defense, she said, "I hadn't seen it, because he had it covered ... then he takes his hand off and it's like, 'Oh, I'm gonna pass out. This is terrible.'"
When asked on a scale of one to 10 what the pain level was like, Ware shocked everyone by saying it was an 11, adding, "It was very painful."
In a recent interview with PopCulture.com, Arnold said she knows the injury "still bothers" Ware, but that he's been a trooper.
"When I bump it, it doesn't feel good to him, and I know that," Arnold told PopCulture.com. "But as far as keeping him from doing anything, he has been seriously the toughest guy I know, and he has had no problem just doing everything I've asked of him and it has not slowed him down one bit."
Part of that could be attributed to his athlete mindset, she added.
"I think the mentality of an athlete is very, very beneficial on this show," Arnold explained. "As far as the moves and the actual dancing, sometimes their athletic abilities are beneficial. And sometimes they actually hinder them. So I think the mentality is the main thing, they know how to work hard. They know the grind that you have to put in to get to the end result. And that's something that really is beneficial for them."
Dancing With the Stars airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
Photo credit: ABC/Eric McCandless