DENVER (AP) _ Denver Broncos running back Gerald Willhite has been lost for the remainder of the NFL season after suffering a multiple fracture of his right leg in Monday night's game at Minnesota, Coach Dan Reeves said.

Willhite was scheduled to undergo surgery today, Reeves said.

After breaking away for a 29-yard run, Willhite was a step away from the end zone when Minnesota Vikings safety Joey Browner pulled him down from behind.

His right foot was caught under his body, and the agonizing pain caused by the injury was apparent as Willhite was carted off the field. The Broncos scored on the next play, but Vikings won the game 34-27.

Reeves said Willhite broke the leg in two places, and suffered a bone chip and an injured ankle.

''The loss of Gerald is a big one,'' he said. ''He does so many things for us that people don't realize. He's a good blocker and runner and pass receiver. We'll miss him.''

Willhite is the third Broncos' player who has been injured in the past three weeks. Wide receiver Steve Watson broke his ribs two weeks ago during the Broncos-Raiders strike game, and center Billy Bryan suffered torn knee ligaments in another strike game against Kansas City.

Nose tackle Tony Colorito injured his knee during the exhibition season and is out for the year.

Running back Steve Sewell said he was hoping that Willhite's injury was not serious.

''You just have to pray for a speedy recovery,'' he said. ''It hurts us an awful lot. He's a key player. He does so much on third down.''

Quarterback John Elway stayed away from Willhite, and later said, ''I have kind of a weak stomach. I can't stand to see stuff like that.''