SAN DIEGO, JAN. 25 -- Washington Redskins wide receiver Art Monk, who has missed the last five games with a knee injury, will be able to play his usual role in the team's offense in the Super Bowl, Redskins coaches said this afternoon.

"I expect him to play an integral role in our offense," assistant coach Dan Henning said at the Hyatt Islandia, the team's headquarters. "Whether he will start or not depends on the kind of formation we choose to start the game with. That doesn't matter as much as how much he can play, and we expect him to be ready. It's great to have him back."

Coach Joe Gibbs announced for the first time at a news conference that Monk was ready to play.

"I don't have any question about Art," Gibbs said. "I think he's back 100 percent. We feel good about that. I feel certain {Monk will play}, right now, unless something would happen between now and then. Otherwise, he looks good."

Monk could not be reached for comment, but the news clearly buoyed the team as it began its California preparations for Sunday's 6 p.m. (EST) game against the Denver Broncos at Jack Murphy Stadium.

Monk, who suffered a partially torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee Dec. 6 at St. Louis, is expected to wear a brace on his knee. He began running earlier this month and rejoined practice full-time last week.

When Monk is activated off injured reserve, the Redskins will have to deactivate a player, perhaps a wide receiver. Anthony Allen is the low man on the totem pole behind Monk, Gary Clark, Ricky Sanders and Eric Yarber (a punt returner), but Gibbs and Henning both said no decision yet has been made.

"There's a number of different ways we could go," Gibbs said.

Another Redskins' decision has been made -- or has it? Gibbs said he has made up his mind and will stick with inconsistent kicker Ali Haji-Sheikh in Sunday's game against Denver, but added with a smile, "Until I change it {his mind}."

Gibbs said Haji-Sheikh, who missed two of three field-goal attempts in the NFC championship game, "looked good" during regular kicking drills at a closed practice at the University of San Diego. Jess Atkinson, who dislocated his left ankle Sept. 13 and apparently still is not completely healthy, made the trip to San Diego and is available if Gibbs chooses to replace Haji-Sheikh.

The Redskins practiced for an hour and 45 minutes this afternoon, according to a pool reporter assigned to watch the practice. Gibbs said every player participated in the workout, including cornerback Darrell Green (rib cartilage) and defensive tackle Darryl Grant (sprained ankle). Gibbs said he anticipates they both will be able to play as usual in the Super Bowl.

"I think Darrell's fine," Gibbs said. "In practice, he was running great. He got stung {in practice last week}, but he should be fine."

Gibbs said he was "surprised" his players "were into what was going on as much as they were. Last week, it was hard to get them to concentrate on things. They were so geared up about getting here. It was hard to get them to really concentrate. Their minds wandered a little bit."

The Redskins apparently were all business today. With Monk back, their offense is back at full strength for the first time since the Buffalo game Nov. 1. And this means the possibilities are endless for offensive strategy for Sunday's game, say the Redskins.

"He's our leader and he's back," Clark said. "It helps me and it helps Ricky because the pressure's on him now. I told him, 'You've got the pressure role back.' I'm glad."

Clark said Monk's return makes it more difficult for Denver's defense to stop Washington.

"Of course it adds pressure to Denver's defense," Clark said. "You've got a guy like Art coming into the game. Art's been having special defenses made for him probably for the last three or four years. Anytime you've got a guy that's going to make a team probably change some things, you've got it made. It's going to help me and Ricky out a lot."

Monk's greatest value to the team may be as an inside, possession-down receiver. At 6 feet 3, he is the team's tallest receiver. But Monk, 30, had a disappointing season, catching 38 passes for 483 yards, his lowest totals since the 1982 strike season. He dropped more passes than usual this year, including two potential winning touchdown passes in the end zone in the final minute of a game with the Los Angeles Rams in November.

"My season has not been very good," Monk said Dec. 29 in his only interview of the season. "I'm real disappointed with the way I performed this year. But there's no use looking back and sulking about it. I just have to prepare myself for when I come back this year, if I come back this year."

Monk's season totals placed him third among Washington receivers behind Clark (56 catches for 1,066 yards) and running back Kelvin Bryant (43 for 490). In his career, he has had 26 games with 100 or more yards, but he did not have one in 1987.

"He's a big receiver that gives us an inside threat," Gibbs said. "He's a good target in there. He's strong. He's bigger than most outside receivers. He's a big-play guy for us. It's really good to get back somebody like that."

Clark said the media might pay a lot of attention to who starts, but the wide receivers aren't concerned about that.

"Art and Ricky can start and I'll sit the bench," Clark said. "I don't care. Just so that Art's back. That's the most important thing. He has been the main receiver here for about five years, and he'll be the main receiver here for another five years. Art is my idol."