Oct. 1, 2013 at 11:07 AM ET
Over the years, "Dancing With the Stars" contestants (including Tom Delay, Misty Mae-Treanor and Dorothy Hamill) have dropped out because of injuries, but Bill Nye "The Science Guy" did not exit the ballroom without giving it one last try.
Despite a doctor’s order that he shouldn’t dance with a torn tendon, Nye and his pro partner, Tyne Stecklein, got creative with a robotic routine on Monday night. But it wasn't enough to keep him in the game.
But despite his loss, he did win the respect of his former castmates.
"My knees hurt because they’re strained,” Valerie Harper told TODAY after the show. "But it’s nothing like what poor Bill had to contend with!"
"I liked it when Bill said, 'You don’t regret the things you do in life — you regret the things you don’t do,'" four-time "Dancing" champ Derek Hough pointed out before adding that Nye’s exit may be a blessing in disguise. "I don’t want him to be injured anymore. He should be proud of the way he went out tonight. He can hold his head up high."
Karina Smirnoff said Nye’s injuries reminded her of a similar condition that her former partner Ralph Macchio suffered from when they competed together on the show in season 12.
"It got to a point where a ligament tore and all the blood was going down to (Ralph’s) ankle," Smirnoff recalled. "His leg looked purple and blue. When I saw Bill’s leg, it was purple and blue in the back. I take my hat off to him (for performing tonight).”
It wasn’t shocking that Nye and Stecklein were among two couples who were in jeopardy toward the end of the show, given their past performances, but it was a bit surprising that the other duo was Christina Milian and Mark Ballas.
"As Mark’s best friend, I was just relieved he didn’t go home with his face like that (still wearing clown makeup),” noted Hough, adding with a chuckle, “I was, like, 'Please don’t go home!'"
"When I was up there, I was thinking, ‘I wish I had taken my makeup off when I had the chance,’" Ballas said. “(Backstage,) they were all like, ‘No, you look fabulous. You’re not getting eliminated!’"
The folks backstage were correct — it was Nye’s time to go and now it’s his time to heal.
"Bill really needs to take care of himself," Ballas offered. "I hope he has a speedy recovery, does all the right things with therapy, and is able to avoid having surgery. It was so commendable for someone who’s a non-dancer to go out and do what he did. But now he has to focus on getting better."