Survivor: Tocantins took a disappointing turn this week as Joe Dowdle's leg infection forced him home and canceled the need for a Tribal Council. Though show medics feared the infection might cost the Texan his leg or even his life, he's now fully recovered, and spends his days working in real estate and playing music around Austin. He talked to us about his picks to win and why it's best to be up-front about who you are.
TVGuide.com: Hopefully you're talking to us with two legs.
Dowdle: Yes, I am, fortunately. Got a little scar on there.
TVGuide.com: Can you tell us exactly how the infection got so bad?
Dowdle: It was one of the immunity challenges and it was the one where we were pushing the blocks. We were stacking them up. I scraped it. And then in that lacrosse slingshot challenge I think it got infected because later that night it started aching, and then that morning it was inflamed and it just kept going.
TVGuide.com: But it didn't hurt too much? You really wanted to stay in Tocantins.
Dowdle: No, it was very painful, dude. I was relieved as much as I was disappointed to leave. It was painful toward the end, you know? ... What I do know is my mental game was mainly focusing on my leg. So toward the end, I really didn't have the focus and the energy and the concentration to actually play the game, so that would have been a huge problem, going forward, obviously.
TVGuide.com: Now that you can watch this as an observer, who are you rooting for and who do you think is in the lead?
Dowdle: I think Taj, Stephen and J.T., they're all in a good spot. ... Tyson and Coach are getting involved, and it looks like Erinn is ready to play the game based on last night. I'm rooting for Jalapao [the tribe in which he competed].
TVGuide.com: We talked to Spencer a while back and he said one of the reasons he didn't come out to other competitors is that some of you were from Texas and the South — that because of that you might not be supportive of his being gay. Is that true at all?
Dowdle: That's not true at all. I would've liked to have seen Spencer just come out with who he is and played the game like that because I think in hiding one part of your personality you take away from what you're capable of.
What do you think? Who looks best in Survivor?