Sydney - Wallaby back Pat McCabe was on Wednesday ruled out of rugby for the rest of the year after sustaining a neck injury during last weekend's 23-21 loss to the British and Irish Lions in the first Test at Brisbane.
Specialists said he needed to properly rest to prevent it becoming career-threatening.
The 25-year-old first fractured his neck on last year's European tour and will need to wear a brace for at least six weeks to stabilise the reopened injury before further assessments are made.
"It's unfortunate that having completed the healing process from last year's injury, that it has happened again," Wallabies doctor Warren McDonald said in a statement.
"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. Only time can do that, but we will be monitoring it closely throughout the healing process."
The Brumbies star has played 20 Tests and was philosophical about the setback, noting that it "could have been a lot worse".
"It was encouraging to hear the specialists being positive both about the recovery process but also the possibility that I could be able to return to the playing field," McCabe said.
"We'll see how the rehabilitation goes and take it from there. I'd obviously like to get back into it, but I'll be taking no chances with my health either."