EXCLUSIVEEven if Maksim Chmerkovskiy does want to dance with stars again, the Ukrainian pro needs ankle surgery before he can even consider a return to "Dancing with the Stars."
As TMZ first reported, Maksim sat out the most recent season to pursue other entertainment gigs ... so far he's got an appearance on "General Hospital" to show for it.
Sources tell us, producers at "DWTS" desperately want Maksim to return to the show next season. But sources close to Maksim say that won't be possible until he gets surgery on one of his ankles.
We're told the wear and tear of working with untrained dancers each season has taken its toll Maksim (as opposed to dancing with another pro, which is way easier).
Our sources say producers are throwing around various ideas to make Maksim a part of the show in any way possible ... perhaps as just a choreographer.