Sep. 30, 2013 at 11:27 PM ET
While Monday night was Hollywood night on "Dancing With the Stars," viewers would have never known that if they'd only seen what Bill Nye brought to the dance floor.
Forget the glitz and glam of classic cinema, he went high-tech and low-movement for an unexpected robot routine with partner Tyne Stecklein. But there was good reason behind the not-so-theme-friendly offering.
During last week's paso doble, Bill botched a move and tore his quadriceps tendon, making legwork not just difficult, but ill advised.
"Short of a wheelchair, I wouldn't recommend any sort of dancing next week," his doctor warned following the injury.
But Bill had other ideas. Rather than give up, he trusted Tyne to put together a no-impact dance he could handle, and thus the lumbering robot jazz act was born.
It was a valiant effort.
Head judge Len Goodman praised Bill's "guts, determination and bravery," and Carrie Ann Inaba cheered his "incredible spirit." Heck, even Bruno Tonioli told him he entertained. But when the 16 points they gave him were added to the viewer votes he received last week, The Science Guy just didn't have what it takes to stay in the ballroom battle.
"There's people here who are working hard, who are so good," he said after he learned his fate. "You see them improving every week. I'm not going to be able to keep up for that."
But while Bill's ballroom days are over, he can take heart knowing that he was far from the only one struggling through injuries to stay in the game.
In fact, he had good company, including this week's top scorer, Brant Daugherty.
The "Pretty Little Liars" star suffered a sprained ligament (and he lost his phone and he was robbed at gun point — talk about a bad week), and was forced to rehearse in a boot brace. But it seemed as though it hardly held him back.
When Brant and pro partner Peta Murgatroyd hit the floor for a flapper-style quickstep that was packed with precision moves, he didn't show his pain or any sign slowing down.
Len dubbed the dance the "no-stress express" for the speed and control on display before he and his fellow panelists gave it a matching set of 9s.
Another dancer feeling the pain this time around was Valerie Harper. While the television icon continues her battle against terminal cancer, it's actually been a recurring knee injury that's held her back in rehearsals.
But on the dance floor, it wasn't her knee that was tripping her up. Instead, the actress simply struggled to remember the steps to the cha cha while moving alongside pro Tristan MacManus. Maybe she was just distracted by their costumes — the audience certainly was. After all, she was playing the part of Grace Kelly opposite Tristan's Freddie Mercury.
The odd couple effect didn't confuse the judges though. They gave the likable star low marks with a 16.
The rest of the competitors remained relatively injury-free (for now).
A perfectly fit Christina Milian, who put on a high-energy Charleston, continued her trend of edging up the leaderboard a point at a time and found herself tied for second place with quickstepper Corbin Bleu with 26 points.
Trailing just one point behind them was Elizabeth Berkley, whose foxtrot earned raves from Len (who called it "chick soup to the eyes"), and Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, who dropped the Nicole this week and picked up some impressive quickstep skills.
Leah Remini's romantic rumba, Amber Riley's light-on-the-Charleston Charleston and Bill Engvall's passable paso doble all tied with 24 points, while Jack Osborne cha-cha'ed away with a total of 22.
Who's at risk for following in The Science Guy's footsteps next week? It's still anyone's game. But given the propensity for injury, don't be surprised if another pulled this or torn that is a deciding factor.