Unlike last year, when they had a long pre-season with virtually their entire squad, it will be a fractured build-up to the start of the 2017 season for last year's finalists.
Apart from injuries to key players, there is a host of players who have been playing abroad and some Springboks who only returned to training earlier this month after their compulsory rest period.
Lions coach Johan Ackermann described it as an "interesting build-up", when asked about the pre-season preparations.
Players who will miss the start and (in some cases) a substantial part of the season through injury include Springbok prop Julian Redelinghuys (neck fracture, unlikely to play in 2017), Bok wing Ruan Combrinck (shoulder surgery - return to action expected in April) and prop Dylan Smith (shoulder surgery - return to action in March).
However, it is the number of senior players who, for the first time, were not with the Lions in the off-season that is probably more complicate to manage.
Players who toured with the Bok in November and only joined up with the Lions in January include Francois de Klerk, Malcolm Marx and Rohan Janse van Rensburg.
"Last year there wasn't a need to rest players before they started with us," Ackermann told rugby365, adding: "They could training with us right the way through."
While the Bok players only joined the team in January, Ackermann is still waiting for the Japan players to join us now at the end of the month.
Late arrivals include six players from japan and one from France - Warren Whiteley (Red Hurricanes), Jaco Kriel (Kubota Spears), Lionel Mapoe (Kubota Spears), Elton Jantjies (Shining Arcs), Warwick Tecklenburg (Kamaishi Seawaves), Franco Mostert (Black Rams) and Andries Ferreira (Toulon).
"Credit to the players who are here, they are all working hard," the coach said.
"Malcolm, Francois and Rohan all look good again and have settled in seamlessly.
"We hope the guys from Japan are in good shape when they arrive and slot in quickly."
Ackermann said they still have a strong core of players who played Super Rugby last year, as well as the youngsters who played Currie Cup.
However, he admitted it is a period of uncertainty.
"The questions remain: 'Have you done enough? What areas still require attention?'
"Those will only be answered in the pre-season matches and the first few [competition] matches."
He said they have not changed much in terms of their build-up and preparations.
"The big difference from last year is that they had a five-week break after the Currie Cup season, where the players could rest before pre-season.
"This year we had to adjust our rest period and only time will tell if the shorter pre-season has worked in our favour or against us."
He added that they will have to carefully manage the Japan-based players.
"Once they have joined us I will get a feeling as to where they are," he told rugby365.
"Some of them, like Elton [Jantjies] and Jaco [Kriel] played a lot [in Japan]. I believe they played 60 to 80 minutes most of the time.
"Other players played mostly off the bench. We will do the necessary medical tests and evaluate them in training.
"They have played at the highest level and are coming out of a full season, so I don't think they will need a lot of [pre-season] game time.
"It is more a case of settling in and becoming part of the Lions culture again. I don't think they will play more than one game with us.
"A guy like Elton, who has played a lot of rugby, may not feature at all.
"We will assess them individually and make the calls."
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