The Sharks have been dealt another blow to their back-row stock with the news that Willem Alberts will miss the opening four weeks of Super Rugby.
Alberts will undergo a "small shoulder procedure on Tuesday," ruling him out of the clashes against the Cheetahs, Stormers, Kings and Brumbies.
The Springbok loose forward joins captain Keegan Daniel, centre Tim Whitehead and hooker Bismarck du Plessis on the Sharks' list of big-name absentees for the start of the competition.
The good news for last year's losing finalists is they came out of their recent warm-up match against the Pumas unscathed in terms of further injuries.
"The game against the Pumas was the hit-out and physicality we needed after what we had against the Leopards which wasn't a really physical match," Sharks assistant coach Hugh Reece-Edwards told the Sharks website.
"That physicality was right up there with anything we'll experience in Super Rugby this season.
"Coming back without injuries was another good part, as was some of the stuff we did in the game. Like any game, you learn from it and there are some areas we still need to work on - but there always will be.
"As long as you identify them, which we have, we've picked up some that we will work on this week."
So where do the Sharks stand in terms of their preparation? Was it enough, have they benefited and are they prepared?
"Yes, I think so," says Reece-Edwards.
"We feel we've gotten out what we wanted from the two games, although had we sustained no injuries, we'd be happier. We would have had no injuries had we had no games, but you need the hit-outs, certainly this last game we got the physicality we needed.
"So from that point of view our physical preparation has been good and we're happy with that."