Archuleta, Fisher expected back for Rams

Updated: October 31, 2003, 5:39 PM ET

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Rams safety Adam Archuleta and cornerback Travis Fisher are expected to return from injuries and play Sunday against San Francisco, providing much-needed reinforcements in the secondary.

"It's the right time," Fisher said Friday. "If we can have all of our guys back, it's a plus for us."

Fisher, a second-year player who also started some as a rookie, missed last week's victory over the Steelers with a groin injury although he had been available for emergency duty. He was listed as probable, although he said he was totally healthy after being injured against the Packers two weeks ago.

Archuleta has missed two games with a sprained ankle and was listed as questionable. He's stepped up his workload each day in practice this week.

"I'm made a lot of improvements over the last week, so I'm getting that confidence back," Archuleta said. "It's a significant injury and it's natural to try and favor it, so it's probably going to take playing on Sundays to get that out of you and just rely on your natural abilities."

Rookie DeJuan Groce started in place of Fisher last week, while Rich Coady has been filling in for Archuleta.

Archuleta's comeback might be a little easier with 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia, an expert scrambler, out this week with an ankle injury. But coach Mike Martz warned his team not to underestimate backup Tim Rattay.

"You've got to remember, that's the same situation Garcia was in when he came in and the same situation Kurt (Warner) was in and Marc (Bulger), and so on," Martz said. "He does the same sorts of things Garcia does: he's very mobile, he's got a real quick release, he's a smart guy, accurate and competitive -- all the good things."

The Rams plan easing their injured star, running back Marshall Faulk, back into the action. Rookie Arlen Harris will get his second career start after running for three touchdowns against the Steelers this week.

Faulk has worked a lot with the scout team this week, concentrating on getting his timing back as he recovers from a broken left hand and surgery on his right knee. He's missed four games plus the bye week.

Faulk dressed last week but did not play and likely will split time with Harris this week.

"I don't want to put him in a situation where he says he's ready because he thinks we need him to be ready," Martz said. "Maybe it's on a limited basis this week and maybe it's not, but certainly Arlen deserves the opportunity to play."

One player the Rams almost definitely won't have is defensive end Leonard Little, who tore a chest muscle trying to arm tackle Jerome Bettis last week.

"Which is stupid, as big as he is and as strong as he is," Little said.

Little could play next week but right now the prescription is rest. He's listed as questionable and said it was "99.9 percent" certain that he wouldn't play.

"Coach caught me today doing some pushups and he got real mad at me," Little said. "They want me to take my time, but I'm going to come back as soon as I can."

Little is among the league leaders with seven sacks and he's also been among the Rams' best against the run. He leads the line with 46 tackles, an interception and 21 quarterback pressures.

"It's going to take all of us to make up for his absence if he's not playing," defensive lineman Tyoka Jackson said. "No one guy can replace him, but all of us together, we can help replace him."

Defensive tackle Damione Lewis also likely will miss the 49ers game with a high ankle sprain. His absence will give rookie Jimmy Kennedy, the team's first-round pick, a chance to work into the rotation.

Martz said Kennedy has made a lot of progress the last few weeks.

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