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BANGED-UP FAULK WILL BE A GAME-TIME DECISION FOR THE RAMS

It's still a waiting game with the St. Louis Rams and Marshall Faulk.

Faulk missed Monday night's victory over the Bears with a high sprain in his right ankle and a strained tendon in his left foot. His status for Sunday's game at Washington won't be determined until game time, coach Mike Martz said Thursday.

Faulk didn't practice, instead visiting with team doctors about the ankle, by far the more serious of the injuries. Martz said Faulk won't practice the rest of the week; he didn't practice all last week, either.

"I think we'll just keep him out until they make a decision," Martz said. "What's helped him is staying off this thing and letting it heal. I don't know if we'll have him for Sunday or not.

"I'm more optimistic, certainly, than last week," Martz added. "I think there's a chance we'll have him."

If Faulk can't play, rookie Lamar Gordon again would start. Gordon had 97 yards rushing and receiving, including a 22-yard TD reception, against the Bears.

Martz said Faulk, who has missed only eight games in eight-plus seasons, has been frustrated by the injury.

"He's such a quick healer, he's used to just fighting through it," Martz said. "Now they know exactly what it is; it's just a strain in the membrane, and I think that's a relief to him."

Around the league

Donovan McNabb might not have surgery on the broken right ankle that could sideline him for the rest of the regular season. The Eagles quarterback returned to Philadelphia on Thursday with a cast on the ankle after meeting with a specialist in Houston. McNabb will wear the cast until he is examined again in about two weeks.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre and Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Chris Hovan were fined $5,000 each Thursday for their verbal confrontations during Sunday's game. Both players said they will appeal the fines. The Packers also signed free-agent running back Jay Graham to fill the roster spot of injured rookie Najeh Davenport. Graham played in 22 games for the Ravens from 1997-99, then was out of football in 2000 before signing with Seattle in 2001. He played in 11 games for the Seahawks last season, gaining 43 yards on 12 attempts.

The Detroit Lions have signed veteran cornerback Jimmy Hitchcock. He was released Tuesday by the New England Patriots.

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