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'Dancing With the Stars': Can Donald Driver stay healthy?

February 29, 2012 | 12:50 pm

Donalddriver
Competing on "Dancing With the Stars" means undertaking a grueling and potentially risky training regimen — even for a veteran jock such as Donald Driver.

Driver, a Green Bay Packers wide receiver, is among the celebrities picked for the 14th season of the ABC dance contest, which starts next month. He faces promising odds: Six athletes have won the Mirror Ball Trophy, including two of Driver's NFL colleagues, wide receiver Hines Ward and former running back Emmitt Smith.

But injuries tend to run through "DWTS" seasons like linemen picking their way through an agility ladder. Non-sporting types tend to be afflicted the most — witness last season's complaints from Chaz Bono (who acknowledged his weight problems created issues) and Ricki Lake. But even experienced hoofers have been plagued with physical woes, including Jennifer Grey, who rose to fame in the film "Dirty Dancing." And Ward's own dance partner, Australian pro Kym Johnson, was carted away in an ambulance after being felled by a neck injury during rehearsals (she was cleared to continue in the competition).

This should all be sobering stuff for Driver, who has played for the Packers since 1999 and — unlike fellow "DWTS" contestant Martina Navratilova, who retired from tennis years ago — is still very much in the game. At 37, he's getting on in years for an NFL-er. And he has seen his share of workplace injuries in recent years. He sprained his ankle early during the 2011 Super Bowl and couldn't return to the game, although the Packers won anyway.

So ... how hard do you think Driver should push to win that Mirror Ball Trophy?

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— Scott Collins (twitter.com/scottcollinsLAT)

Photo: Donald Driver will compete on "Dancing With the Stars." Credit: Associated Press.

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