EXCLUSIVE: Lionel Richie Says He Feared Knee Injury Would End His Career: 'You Go Into Denial'

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Lionel Richie feared that a knee injury would end his career.
The 67-year-old singer got candid about recovering from a torn meniscus and resuming his All the Hits tour with Mariah Carey during a chat with ET on Wednesday.
"You go into denial and you are like, 'Oh, OK, I am having a little knee problem, I will just do some more shows and work it out," Richie told Nischelle Turner of his initial response to the injury. "In the old days if you got a little pain, you work it out. Well, the more I started doing shows, what I had was a torn meniscus and the guys said what you do with that is you have to stop, and I didn't know how to stop."
"I am programmed to run and so stopping meant I had to announce to pull the tour and I don't cancel tours. I don't cancel shows," he continued. "So I went through a series of withdrawals where they had to sit and talk to me and go, 'Lionel, it is not the end of your career.' But I feel great now, back to normal."
In February, Richie postponed the jaunt and underwent laparoscopic knee surgery.
The 22-city tour will now resume on June 22, and getting Carey to hit the road wasn't a hard sell for Richie. Especially since that the two have known each other for "years."
"To be quite honest with you she is extremely -- this may be a shocker -- she is extremely respectful," he said, revealing that Carey addresses him as "Mr Richie," even though he insists that she call him by his first name.
Though he couldn't reveal too many tour secrets, Richie hinted at performing a duet with Carey.
"I can't reveal that," he said. "But I can tell you there is a strong rumor that something like that could happen."
Another singing diva that fans are waiting to see Richie share the stage with is Adele. But dreams of a "Hello" mashup could take a while, due to the British singer's busy schedule.
"I know exactly what she is going through," Richie noted. "It is amazing when the green light comes on, there is a word that people want to use, it's called ‘busy.' She got really busy really fast!"