TAMPA, JAN. 2 -- Giants quarterback Jeff Hostetler pronounced himself physically able to play Sunday against the Bills, despite a left knee that was still "a little sore" from a hit administered in the NFC title game by 49ers nose tackle Jim Burt.

Hostetler showed no sign of the limp that had been evident as he got off the Giants' team plane early Monday morning, and said he did not plan to miss any practice. He stood amid a throng of reporters in the bleachers of Tampa Stadium answering questions for more than 30 minutes, without sitting.

The NFL said today it will review Burt's hit, which many Giants have called a cheap shot. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said it likely won't be looked at until after the Super Bowl. If the league thinks Burt tried to intentionally hurt Hostetler, the former Giant would be fined. Burt said he was pushed into Hostetler.

Hostetler said that when he first left the game he "thought it might have been real bad, but the pain subsided right away. It stiffened up a little, but at that point in my career, it would take a lot more to keep me out of a football game.

"I'm excited about playing Sunday. I want the week to go fast and get going. . . . My job is to come in and not miss a beat, and this team has rallied around me. These guys know I'm a fighter and a competitor, they've seen that. They know I'm not going to give up. I've been through an awful lot, some tough times, and I'll keep plugging away no matter what. They know that."

Jim Kelly, his Bills counterpart, talked about fulfilling a lifetime dream of playing in the Super Bowl, a dream that goes back to childhood days when he idolized Terry Bradshaw. Kelly wears number 12 -- Bradshaw's number, as well as that of another of his idols, Joe Namath. "I've got his picture in my room," Kelly said.

Both Kelly and Hostetler grew up in western Pennsylvania, played linebacker in high school and were recruited by Penn State. Hostetler played quarterback for two years under Joe Paterno before transferring to West Virginia; Kelly went to Miami.

Hostetler and Kelly have another connection too, on the basketball court. Hostetler was a star player at Conemaugh Township High School, which played Kelly's alma mater, East Brady, in the 1979 Pennsylvania Class A semifinals. East Brady's starters included Kelly's younger brothers, Dan and Kevin.

Hostetler scored 28 points as Conemaugh won, 63-57, in overtime. Among the first to congratulate him were Kelly, by then at Miami, Kelly's father and Kelly's five brothers.

Some say Kelly still has a linebacker's outlook, and he did nothing to change that appraisal today when he said: "I like dishing out hits rather than having hits put on me. Making a hit fires me up more than anything." Giants Keep It Light

The Giants had a light 1-hour 45-minute practice at the University of Tampa. The only player held out was tight end Mark Bavaro, who is expected to practice Wednesday. Since knee surgery a year ago, he usually skips early-week practice.

The Giants worked mostly on passing, then ended with wind sprints. "I wouldn't call that slave driving," Coach Bill Parcells said. "That's just moderate. The slave driving starts" Wednesday. The Bills didn't practice.

Cuomo Backs the Bills

New York Gov. Mario Cuomo said he has decided to back the Bills. "We have three born-in-New York National Football League teams," he said. "I helped root two of them to Super Bowl victories {the Jets and Giants} . . . . Now I'll be rooting for a third New York champion -- the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXV." . . .

Joe Montana had surgery to repair a bone in his right hand, broken when he was sacked from behind by Leonard Marshall late in the 49ers' loss to the Giants. Two screws were inserted, and the procedure was pronounced a success.

The doctor said Montana's hand will be in a cast about a month, the screws will be removed in about two and Montana will be able to begin throwing in three.