Joe Horvath's career as a Washington Diplomat, apparently over three weeks ago when he was dropped from the roster, could resume as soon as Sunday afternoon when the Dips open their home season at 2:30 p.m. in RFK Stadium against the Philadelphia Fury.

Washington Coach Gordon Bradley, who tried to trade Horvath prior to the season after acquiring three new midfielders, said yesterday Horvath may start in place of one of those players, Juan Jose Lozano.

Lorano, the 24-year-old Spaniard, has been bothered by an injury to his right instep since training camp. He was not running well yesterday in practice, Bradley said, and will see a doctor today.

"It may be that the doctor says he has to stay off it completely for 10 days or two weeks," Bradley said. "It just hasn't gotten better. He's hampered. He's also very frustrated because he can't really run. He can't do the things he normally can."

With Lozano ailing, Bradley brought Horvath back to Washington this week and he has been practicing with the team. Last season Horvath was the Dips' second-leading scorer, with 41 points. He is an excellent playmaker and his left-footed kick may be the best on the team.

"The reason I told him I wanted to make a trade was because (Johan) Cruyff, (Wim) Jansen and Lozano are all playmakers like he is," Bradley said. "But I couldn't make a deal. Now, he's back and practicing very well. If the doctor says that Lozano can't play, I won't hesitate to start Joe. We all know he's a good player."

Bradley also will start defender Nick Mijatovic, acquired this week from Rochester, in place of Gary Darrell. Darrell, the only remaining original Diplomat, had shifted back to defense from midfield because of the preseason injuries to defensive center backs Don Droege, Jim Steele and Mike Dillon. With Mijatovic in uniform and in excellent condition, Darrell again will become a reserve.

Mijatovic's quick adjustment to the Washington system was the good news for Bradley yesterday. The bad news was that leading scorer Alan Green still is unable to run on his sprained ankle.

Green has not kicked a ball all week and Bradley said he is an extremely doubtful starter Sunday.

Ken Mokgojoa will replace Green Sunday even though he has not been effective in the first two games.