A teen-ager who was stabbed early Sunday at Celebrity Hall, a go-go music club, has been placed under guard at Children's Hospital after police discovered that he was a fugitive from a youth detention center where he had been serving time for a drug conviction and stealing a car, police sources said yesterday.

Otis Nelson, 15, who had been stabbed once in the back, is listed in good condition at the hospital. A police guard was placed outside his room Wednesday night, sources said.

The location of the stabbing and the handling of it by Celebrity Hall officials have emerged as crucial elements in an investigation of whether club officials tried to cover it up. Sources said Nelson has been uncooperative with police.

The stabbing is the latest in a series of shootings and stabbings at District go-go music clubs this year.

The manager of Celebrity Hall at 3401 Georgia Ave. NW told emergency dispatchers in three telephone calls after 3 a.m. Sunday that the incident occurred outside the building, according to a transcript of 911 recordings. However, police and the owner of the hall said Monday the stabbing occurred inside as a go-go concert ended.

Sources said that Nelson had started serving time May 24 on charges of possession with intent to distribute marijuana and unauthorized use of a vehicle at Oak Hill, the city's maximum-security juvenile facility in Laurel. He apparently was released temporarily for a home visit in July and did not return.

"I came home on a home visit July 17," said Nelson from his hospital bed yesterday.

"I wanted to be with my family," Nelson said when asked why he did not return to the facility. Sources said Nelson was listed as an escapee from Oak Hill on July 19.

Oak Hill has been plagued by more than 160 escapes since August 1986. Although escape is not a separate offense in the juvenile criminal code, judges can extend a youth's sentence at the scheduled release time, but sources have said that Oak Hill officials rarely ask judges to do that.

A spokesman for the Department of Human Services, which oversees Oak Hill, would not comment on Nelson because he is a juvenile.