Running back to return to practice this week

Updated: October 20, 2003, 5:07 PM ET

ST. LOUIS -- Marshall Faulk will be back on the practice field this week for the St. Louis Rams, although he's not likely to play Sunday at Pittsburgh.

Faulk has missed three games with a broken left hand and torn cartilage in his right knee. When he was injured the team said the hand would be more of a factor in his return, but coach Mike Martz said Monday that Faulk still has to prove his leg is strong enough to play.

"There's always that chance we could have him on an if-need basis, but I'd like to avoid that if at all possible," Martz said. "I suspect we'll have him ready to go next week and that's what we're kind of aiming at.

"It's all just kind of hanging out there a little bit right now."

Martz said the Rams (4-2) will be cautious with Faulk, also their strategy with injured safety Jason Sehorn. Sehorn has been out since the opening week of training camp with a broken left foot and team doctors are waiting for the break to fully heal before allowing him to practice again.

"Could Marshall play this week? Probably," Martz said. "We just want to make sure the knee is as strong as it needs to be before we put him in a competitive situation."

Martz said Faulk's broken hand is no longer a factor. Faulk wore a small brace on the sideline at Sunday's victory over the Packers.

"They were amazed at how fast it scarred over and healed," Martz said.

Martz said backup running back Lamar Gordon's high ankle sprain sustained on Sunday will not affect Faulk's return, even if Gordon can't play against the Steelers. Third-stringer Arlen Harris, an undrafted free agent, had 85 yards on 18 carries and a 3-yard touchdown run Sunday.

"Not for me, it's not," Martz said. "I'd be happy with Arlen. He knows our system and protections.

"I think he's a terrific runner and I think he showed that the other day."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index