The Rams are trying not to rush the return of Pro Bowl defensive tackle Sean Gilbert, who suffered a sprained left ankle against the Raiders and sat out last week's exhibition loss at San Diego.
Gilbert didn't work out Monday and wasn't optimistic when asked if he could return to practice later in the week or perhaps be ready for Sunday's opener against the Arizona Cardinals at Anaheim Stadium.
"It's horrible, terrible, no thank you," Gilbert said of his heavily taped ankle. "It's day-to-day right now. Time heals everything, and we can't rush it if it doesn't heal right. Just standing here right now, it hurts."
Coach Chuck Knox said Gilbert won't practice until Thursday at the earliest.
But Knox expects defensive end Fred Stokes, who sat out all four exhibition games because of a sprained left knee, to be ready Sunday. "He has to be ready," Knox said. "We're thin on that defensive line right now, no question about that."
David Rocker is the favorite over rookie D'Marco Farr to start if Gilbert can't play.
As expected, the Rams signed free-agent tight end Ron Middleton and cut tight end Travis McNeal. Middleton was cut by the Washington Redskins after sitting out most of the exhibition season because of a pulled hamstring. He will back up starter Troy Drayton.
Third-string quarterback Tommy Maddox practiced for the first time in a Ram uniform.
"It has been pretty hectic," said Maddox, a former UCLA standout acquired from Denver in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick. "It will be nice once my wife and daughter get out here and we find an apartment. Once that's taken care of, the rest is pretty easy."
Running the scout squad, Maddox showed a nice touch on a couple of deep passes but was intercepted by linebacker Joe Kelly and free safety Anthony Newman on shorter routes.
"I don't think it will take me that long to pick up the offense," Maddox said.
Mark Boutte and strong safety Deral Boykin, cut Sunday, were claimed by the Redskins. Cleveland Gary cleared waivers. . . . Wide receiver Todd Kinchen re-strained a hamstring and is expected to sit out a week.