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Simu Liu Danced While Still Feeling Effects of Achilles Injury During 'I'm Just Ken' Oscars Performance

Liu said “I never would forgive myself” if he missed the performance of the nominated 'Barbie' song due to his injury

<p> Kevin Winter/Getty</p> Simu Liu performs

Kevin Winter/Getty

Simu Liu performs 'I'm Just Ken'

Simu Liu was dancing through the pain at Sunday’s Academy Awards, sharing that his torn Achilles tendon still hadn’t healed during an appearance on Today with Hoda & Jenna.

Liu, who played one of the Kens in the smash hit Barbie movie, joined main Ken Ryan Gosling on stage at the Academy Awards for a rendition of the nominated song, “I’m Just Ken.”

But as Liu, 34, told hosts Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager, he was still suffering the effects of his foot injury.

“I’m like four months into recovering from Achilles surgery, but I’m powering through it because I’m like, ‘I feel like this is going to be a historic moment that I never would forgive myself if I wasn’t a part of,’ Liu shared.

"The Achilles tendon is a strong fibrous cord that connects the muscles in the back of your calf to your heel bone," the Mayo Clinic explains, adding that after an injury, it can take up to six months to return to normal activity but "some problems can persist for up to a year."

<p>Rich Polk/Variety via Getty</p> Ncuti Gatwa (left), Simu Liu, Ryan Gosling, Kingsley Ben-Adir and Scott Evans perform "I'm Just Ken" at the 96th Annual Oscars held at Dolby Theatre on March 10, 2024 in Los Angeles

Rich Polk/Variety via Getty

Ncuti Gatwa (left), Simu Liu, Ryan Gosling, Kingsley Ben-Adir and Scott Evans perform "I'm Just Ken" at the 96th Annual Oscars held at Dolby Theatre on March 10, 2024 in Los Angeles

But as Liu said, “I definitely was like, ‘Should I be doing this?' I was talking to my [physical therapist] and he’s like, ‘Ehhhh’ but I was like, ‘Whatever, I’m going to do it.’ But it came together quite quickly. Ryan has such a specific vision for what he wanted. And it was a perfect moment.”

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Liu tore his Achilles tendon in October during a sports-packed getaway with friends. “Basically, I had this crazy idea to bring 20 of my friends to Miami — half from my Canadian side and half from the American side, and to pit them against each other in an Olympic-style tournament of sports," Liu told PEOPLE.

They’d planned back-to-back games of basketball and volleyball — the latter of which went well.

But when the Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings star took the court for the basketball face-off, something went wrong. "All of a sudden I feel like someone has either shot me or kicked my shin out from underneath me or just barreled into me," he told PEOPLE.

"I'm like, 'Who hit me?' Everyone's looking at me and they're like, 'Dude, nobody hit you.' And it was at that moment that I knew that my Achilles was torn, and I went to urgent care right away."

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He's been attending red carpet events with a brace on his leg, but as for dancing the night away as Ken No. 2 at the Academy Awards, Liu says it was worth it.

Related: Simu Liu Dresses as Aaron Rodgers on Crutches for Halloween After They Both Tore Their Achilles Tendons

"I mean, the entire song is, ‘Doesn’t really matter what I do / I’m always No. 2.,' " he said on Today.

"So I think that song really actually applies to me, more than it does Ken," Liu continued. "So I have a personal connection to ‘I’m Just Ken.’ "

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