Sharks boss John Plumtree has admitted concern over whether Springbok prop Tendai Mtawarira will be fit for the start of the season.
Matwarira was forced to return home from South Africa's November tour after after mild heart palpitations in the build-up to the Test with Ireland.
The prop is suffering from an irregular intermittent heart problem and has undergone two procedures in recent years.
"We've lost Dale [Chadwick] for four to six weeks with a stress fracture in his foot," said Plumtree to the Sharks' website.
"We can't afford to have any upsets with Beast [Mtawarira] now, we lost him for a long period last year.
"So there is a little bit of pressure there, but I am excited about Allan Dell, he's a good young prop coming through our system."
Mtawarira said: "I am well, so there is really no need to worry."
"The procedure went well. It's only a minor procedure and sometimes it needs to be done more than once to clear the palpitations. This is something that has happened to me before and that can be treated. Also, it's not career-threatening.
"Sometimes I get quite excited before a game and that is probably what triggered it."