Dancing With the Stars pro Sasha Farber pushed through "incredible pain" to perform in Monday's semifinals after a severe lower back injury put him out of commission throughout dress rehearsals with partner Justina Machado that day, he told Entertainment Tonight after the show.
The One Day at a Time actress was forced to rehearse with fellow pro Brandon Armstrong, who was previously paired with Jeannie Mai before her exit due to an emergency throat surgery. Only during Monday's live show was Farber able to rally and perform with Machado two stunning dances — a sexy tango for their redemption dance as well as a contemporary routine that earned the star her first perfect score of the season.
"That was a close call. I've never done that before and we didn't do a dress run because I was lying here with my back," Farber told ET after being saved from elimination and guaranteed a place in the finals next week. "But these numbers are the numbers that would get her to the finale, and I wanted to make sure we did it together and the last nine weeks weren't just for nothing. It was tough, I'm not going to lie, but we got through it."
Machado added that things were unsure as she went into rehearsals with Armstrong at the last minute. "At that point, I'm like, what can I do, right? I really can't do anything. So Brandon learned the dance and we went out there and we rehearsed it two or three times and we then we waited to see if Sasha got better," she said.
Farber also revealed he refused a cortisone shot prior to his performance, as he didn't want anything to affect next week's finale performance, but did take some anti-inflammatories. Despite that, the pro was in intense pain. "He's still in incredible pain!" Machado said of her partner. "I would have taken that shot in a heartbeat." Farber responded, "I was very determined. There was nothing that was going to stop me."
As for next week's performance, the dancer isn't sure if he will be able to perform. "I hope so, I really, really do. I don't know how it happened," he explained of the injury. "I guess it was in the morning when we had rehearsals and then after I danced it was all good. Literally, when we went back to the trailer, it kept swelling and swelling and swelling, my lower back. I've never had any lower back problems so it was a little scary, but we got through it."