Wallabies back Pat McCabe has been ruled out for the rest of the year.
The 25-year-old re-injured his neck during Australia’s opening Test against the British and Irish Lions on Saturday, after first sustaining a fracture on last year’s Spring Tour.
While McCabe’s latest injury shows he’s re-fractured his neck, Wallabies medical staff say it isn’t necessarily career ending.
“It’s unfortunate that having completed the healing process from last year’s injury, that it has happened again,” Wallabies doctor Warren McDonald said.
“But there are a wide course of options open to Pat, which will be considered once the rehabilitation has been completed.
“The fracture that has partially opened up is expected to repair itself and strengthen. The specialist advice is that a return is viable pending the full recovery and strengthening of the neck.”
McCabe, who will wear a neck brace for at least six weeks, is encouraged by the medical advice but won’t take and risks with his health.
The British Lions also received a blow on Wednesday with centre Jamie Roberts unlikely to play in the second Test.
Roberts and prop Alex Corbisiero (calf) are likely to join lock Paul O’Connell (broken arm) on the sidelines in Melbourne.
“They’re struggling a little bit,” Lions coach Warren Gatland said of the first two.
“Both of them should be fine for the third Test.”
Jonathan Davies, who took Roberts’ place for the first Test in Brisbane, is likely to keep his jersey although there’s pressure from Manu Tuilagi.
In his first match back since injuring his shoulder injury two weeks ago against Queensland, tackle-busting Tuilagi proved a handful for the Rebels defence in the Lions’ 35-0 win on Tuesday night.