By Bill Coats

In what longtime Rams observers proclaimed was a first, coach Mike Martz was absent from practice Friday. While his team worked out at Rams Park, Martz was at a hospital undergoing treatment for a sinus infection.

"He's getting some antibiotics, and he's getting some rest," assistant head coach Joe Vitt said. "He's been feeling bad for a couple of weeks, and he felt real bad (Friday) morning."

A team spokesman said that Martz drove himself to the hospital and that he was expected to be released in time to join the team today for its flight to the East Coast. The Rams play the New York Giants on Sunday in East Rutherford, N.J.

Like most NFL head coaches, Martz, 54, puts in long days. He often sleeps in his office during the season. After years of pain, he underwent back surgery this past offseason and said he'd been feeling better than he had in some time.

"He's going to be fine on Sunday," said Vitt, who ran Friday's practice. "It went well," The program is set, the practice schedules are set. We just carried out his wishes. We're ready to go."