Coach John Morris is considering ways to manage Andrew Fifita's workload in a depleted Cronulla pack for Thursday's NRL clash with Penrith.
Morris rates Fifita a "pretty good chance" of overcoming bone bruising in his knee, but the prop still needs to pass a fitness test in the morning.
"(Fifita) hasn't trained all week, it was only a five-day turnaround so we couldn't do a lot as it was. We're pretty confident he'll take the field," Morris said on Wednesday.
Morris admitted captain Paul Gallen was still feeling pain from rib cartilage damage that has sidelined him for the past fortnight.
The veteran is likely to take the field with the aid of painkillers.
With Aaron Woods (foot) and Wade Graham (ACL) still out and Ava Seumanufagai recently released to Super League, the Sharks' forward depth is being seriously tested.
"We don't have too many more to draw on, to be honest," Morris said.
"We've lost big Ava Seumanufagai, he's been released. And Braden Uele's joined the squad last week.
"The next one down from that is some young guys who are playing in Newtown. We won't put anyone on the field risking them just for the sake of it."
Former NSW State of Origin prop Fifita has been one of the Sharks' best forwards over the opening five games, averaging 119 metres in 62 minutes.
However Morris is open to limiting his 29-year-old big man.
"There's different ways we can look at our interchange plans. I've already had that discussion," he said.
"Whether we put him in long stints or get him off and on with a bit of treatment. There's different ways you can look at it.
"So we'll have a plan with our physio team if he takes the field."
Australian Associated Press