DENVER, JAN. 23 -- Vance Johnson, starting wide receiver for the Denver Broncos, is expected to be ready to play in Super Bowl XXII.

"The doctor said he can start practicing on Tuesday and is optimistic of him playing through the game if he doesn't have problems during the week," Broncos trainer Steve Antonopulos said today.

Johnson, who tore a femoral ligament nearly two weeks ago, was released from the hospital Monday and has limited his workouts to walking and therapeutic exercise, said Antonopulos.

Johnson, who has said he craves fame more than fortune, ignored doctor's orders Wednesday when he went horseback riding as part of a Three Amigos video he is filming with fellow wide receivers Mark Jackson and Ricky Nattiel.

"I didn't feel very good about it," Antonopulos said of the equestrian venture. "I wasn't very happy that he did it without checking with someone."

But Antonopulos said Johnson did not injure himself further and should be ready to play "at full speed with full contact" during the Super Bowl if all goes well.

Johnson's leg is still sore, and he is expected to play and practice with a special pad on his leg, said Antonopulos.

Thursday, Johnson said his injury might mean he won't have to deal with Redskins cornerback Darrell Green.

"Maybe they'll put him on Ricky {Nattiel}," he said. "I'm not looking forward to playing against him. I've seen him blow away some fast guys."

Broncos Coach Dan Reeves said there is a remote chance running back Gerald Willhite will be ready to play in the Jan. 31 game. But Antonopulos said Willhite, who was sidelined 11 weeks ago with a broken leg, is "very, very doubtful."

Reeves said his team will start working on its game plan Monday in San Diego.

"Defensively, we've got to stop the running game," said Reeves. "We can't let them control the field."

"The key to the offense," he said, "is controlling those guys {Dexter Manley and Charles Mann}."

Alex Gibbs, offensive line coach for the Broncos, agreed, saying, "That's the game. If we can control them, then we've got a good chance. If we don't, we're going to get beat."

Broncos left tackle Dave Studdard has been assigned the task of controlling Manley. Of Manley, he said: "He's everything he's cut out to be. He's got all the tools for a great ballplayer."

The 270-pound tackle said that in the last matchup between the two clubs, a 31-30 Denver victory during the 1986 regular season, the Redskins "got a few pressures, a few harassments on {quarterback John Elway} and you don't like to see that. If I don't do a good job, it's gonna be a long day for John."

Studdard said the degree of "showboating" Manley does will be an indication of how well he's doing at controlling the defensive end.

"If you don't give him a chance to showboat, that means they're not playing the way they should," Studdard said.