%mlink(STRY:; PHOTO:NY227-013002; AUDIO:%)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ St. Louis Rams All-Pro offensive tackle Orlando Pace won't practice until Friday due to a knee injury from the NFC championship game.

Pace also will wear a brace in the Super Bowl on Sunday.

``I'm going to take a couple days off and rest the leg,'' Pace said. ``I'll be ready to go on Friday and I'll definitely be ready to go on Sunday.

``It's pretty precautionary, just to keep the swelling down.''

Pace strained a ligament in his right knee in the first half of the Rams' victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. He missed only a series, surprising coaches by insisting on finishing the game.

On Wednesday, Martz gave Pace the offensive game ball.

``It was a testimony, really, to his great courage,'' Martz said.

Pace, the first overall pick of the 1997 draft, said it was never a question whether he'd play the second half against the Eagles. He neutralized Hugh Douglas before and after the injury.

``I really couldn't miss that game,'' Pace said. ``I've never really been hurt in my career, so I don't even know how to handle this whole situation.

``I just wanted to contribute.''

Pace was wearing the brace at a news conference Wednesday.

``It's a huge brace,'' he said. ``But it'll give me some stability.''

Rod Jones, who strained his groin in the NFC championship game, was expected to practice Wednesday. Jones started last week at right tackle in place of Ryan Tucker, who has not started either of the Rams' playoff games due to a sprained ankle, but is expected to start in the Super Bowl.