Dancing With the Stars

Hines Ward's Post-Dancing Plans: Surgery

05/27/2011 at 09:00 AM EDT

Dancing with the Stars: Hines Ward to Get Surgery
Hines Ward
Bob D'Amico/ABC/Getty
Sure, he won the Dancing with the Stars season 12 mirror-ball trophy, but don’t expect to see Hines Ward strolling down Main Street at Disneyland any time soon.

"I'm getting surgery," Ward, 35, tells PEOPLE of his post-Dancing plans. "My left thumb – the ligaments are torn."

The Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver and Super Bowl XL MVP dazzled Dancing fans with his ballroom skills the past three months. But alas, a lingering injury from his most recent NFL season needs immediate attention. He’s scheduled for surgery Tuesday, May 31, at 7:30 am.

"I was supposed to [have surgery] before Dancing with the Stars," says Ward, who's known for acrobatic, one-handed pass receptions on the football field. He's confident he’ll heal quickly from the procedure in time for the new season (pending the NFL lockout is resolved).

Ward postponed off-season plans for a beach vacation so he could compete in the ballroom. But now that he's made it to the finale – and winning – the surf and sun will have to wait.

"No beach this year. I didn't envision making it this far in this dance competition," Ward says with a smile. "But I'm happy to be here and hopefully we can walk away with the mirror-ball trophy."

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