The Proteas would be without their fast bowler Vernon Philander as they face Pakistan in the first Test on 26 December Boxing Day, after the bowling all-rounder sustained a hand injury.
The 33-year-old becomes the latest in line to join the injury list, after another fast bowler Lungi Ngidi was reported to be out of action until February due to a knee injury, South Africa is left with just three pace options in the form of Duanne Olivier, Kagiso Rabada and Dale Steyn.
"I really don't even want to think about what would happen should there be another injury," said South Africa coach Ottis Gibson, quoted ESPNcricinfo.
"If you look at where we are, Steyn, Rabada and Olivier become very important to us. We just want to manage them as best we can. We've seen how Dale's been going. I don't want to say we've seen a transformation because he's always been a top player, but he's back to full fitness and performing like the player of old. KG (Rabada) as always is very important to us."
Pakistan is scheduled to play a three-match away Test series against South Africa from December 26 to January 15.