The Rebels captain and back-rower will undergo a shoulder reconstruction and miss the rest of the season.
It comes as a huge blow for the Aussies, who only two days ago learned they would also be without lock Sitaleki Timani. Higginbotham was a doubt at the time, and was sent back to his club for scans on a suspected dislocated shoulder. The scans have no confirmed the bad news, ruling one of the form players in not only Australia but the entire Super Rugby tournament out of the Lions tour.
Robbie Deans said at the time of injury, Higginbotham popped his shoulder straight back in before taking himself immediately from the pitch. The Australian medical staff then waited until Monday to take scans of the injury in order to give the inflammation time to die down, but the results have come back with bad news.
They revealed that Higginbotham has suffered serious ligament damage and will need a full reconstruction. He returns to Melbourne to have surgery and is not expected back out on the park until the start of next year’s Super Rugby season.