Wales and Scarlets fly-half Rhys Priestland has been ruled out for six months with a ruptured achilles tendon.
Priestland underwent surgery on Tuesday morning and will now miss next year's Six Nations.
The fly-half was stretchered off in the Heineken Cup match against Exeter Chiefs on Saturday after 63 minutes, after returning to action with his region following a difficult November International period with Wales.
Perpignan star James Hook and Ospreys fly-half Dan Biggar are now in contention to start for Wales in February, with Cardiff Blues back Rhys Patchell also in the frame.
"I think it was fairly straightforward given that the snap was halfway up his achilles," Easterby told WalesOnline.
"It used to take nine or 10 months for a player to come back from this injury but some can get back after six months these days.
"Rhys will have his targets and will want to push himself but we must be clear he can't come back before he is ready.
"Unfortunately it means Rhys will miss most of the season which is obviously a big blow for him.
"He had recovered from a couple of poor performances in Wales' early autumn games. He played well against Australia and was playing well for us last weekend before he got injured."