Misty May Treanor
It felt, she said, "like someone had hit the back of my foot with a baseball bat." Misty May-Treanor's tenure on Dancing with the Stars came to a sudden and stunning end Friday after she ruptured her Achilles tendon rehearsing the jive. "I heard this 'pop' and then when I tried to put weight on my left foot, there was nothing there," says May-Treanor. "My foot didn't feel like it was even attached."

But the two-time Olympic beach volleyball champion's Dancing days are not necessarily over for good. Setside sources tell TV Guide that the door is wide open for May-Treanor to return to the parquet at a future date. "I hope I get another shot," she says. Given that she'll need almost a year to recoup, that could bring her back next year, perhaps for Season 9.

If that happens, her partner is ready to sign her dance card again. "I can't say anything, and I don't know what they're doing," says Maksim Chmerkovkiy. "But if it's true, there's nothing in the world that would stop me from coming back to dance with her."

Chmerkovskiy was of course on hand when May-Treanor's Achilles tendon gave in. "I heard the pop," he says. "You didn't have to be a rocket scientist to know that this was bad."

Even a world-class athlete can be reduced to tears when an injury is that severe. "I cried for about three minutes when we were putting ice on it, and then again at the hospital," says May-Treanor, "because I didn't want to let people down. I felt so bad for Maks, who had put so much time into my training."

For the next few hours, May-Treanor endured excruciating pain and the realization that her Dancing run was over. "I was so bummed because I thought we were gonna kill it in the jive on Monday," she says. "This was going to be our breakthrough week."

That sentiment was echoed by Spice Girl Mel B., who had stopped by Misty and Maks' rehearsal studio earlier in the week to help Misty break out of her shell. "Everybody says I always dance with my game face on," says May-Treanor, "and that I don't look like I'm having fun." So Mel B. put Maks in a clown suit and painted a clown face on him, and the two women laughed at him for the rest of the rehearsal. "She had the dance down for sure," says Mel B. "She just needed to let go and laugh."

But on Friday night, rehearsing in the tennis shoes that would become part of her jive costume, the left shoe stuck on the ballroom floor and the tendon gave way. "Usually, when I hurt myself, it's just, 'Tape me up, coach. I'm ready to go back in.'"

Not this time. May-Treanor will go into surgery Tuesday in Orange County, and is facing nine long months of physical rehabilitation. "I've been talking about taking some time off," she says. "Now, I have to."

May-Treanor says the Long Beach home she shares with her husband, Florida Marlins catcher Matt Treanor, has become a haven for the walking wounded. "My husband just had an operation for a sports hernia last week," she shares, "so new we're both out of commission."