Deion Sanders can run forward and backward as fast as he wants for as long as he wants. It's making the cuts necessary to play cornerback that are keeping the Cowboys' all-pro on the sidelines.

Sanders said yesterday that despite his efforts to rehabilitate his injured left big toe, he still doesn't know when it will be strong enough for him to return.

"Everything a cornerback does is on the toes," said Sanders, who was wearing open-toed sandals with two strips of tape holding a foam wedge in place between the injured toe and the next one.

"I'm going to really try my best to turn it on up in the next few weeks, a little bit at a time. Right now, it's tremendous pain to push off on, plant -- and that's my whole game, reaction."

Meanwhile, cornerback Kevin Smith is out of practice indefinitely with a sore lower back, putting the team's top two cornerbacks on the sidelines.

Smith had his back examined in Dallas to see whether he would need another epidural injection for pain after the one he had last Thursday, the team said. The Cowboys said they didn't know the results.

AUTOPSY REPORT: Former NFL player Demetrius DuBose was shot 11 times by police, mostly in the back and stomach, when they say he fought them during an arrest attempt last month, according to an autopsy report.

DuBose, 28, also had traces of Ecstasy, cocaine and alcohol in his blood when he was killed in his Mission Beach, Calif., neighborhood where police say he burglarized a home.

The blood tests revealed only a trace of alcohol -- about the equivalent of one beer -- but there was a significant amount of cocaine, a stimulant, and Ecstasy, a methametamphine-type drug that can cause hallucinations, according to the report.

49ERS: Running back Lawrence Phillips, who returned to practice this week after missing much of the team's training camp with a strained right hamstring, is set to make his 49ers debut tonight against Seattle.

Charlie Garner (Stuart High) will start at running back, but Phillips will play significantly.