Washington Bullets, Elvin Hayes and Phil Chenier, will play in the NBA all-star game today (1:45 p.m., WTOP-TV-9).

Chenier was a last-minute addition to the Eastern Conference team after Boston center Dave Cowens suffered a strain in his lower back playing against the New York Knicks on Friday.

Dr. Thomas Silva, Celtic team physician, prescribed rest for Cowens, who is expected back in the lineup when regular-seasion play resumes Tuesday.

The entire Denver front line of center Dan Lssel and forwards David Thompson and Bobby Jones will start for the West, along with guards Paul Westphal of Phoenix and Norm Van Lier of Chicago.

Philadelphia dominates the Eastern Conference lineup just as Denver does the West. The East coach will be Gene Shue of the '76ers, while forwards Julius Erving and George McGinnis and guard Doug Collins of Philadelphia all won starting berths in the fan voting. Joining them as starters are center Bob McAdoo of the New York Knicks and guard Pete Maravich of New Orleans, the NBA scoring leader.

The fan balloting, which drew a record 1.25 million votes, came under fire because players from certain clubs benefitted from extraordinarily heavy local support. Much of the criticism was aimed at the strong showing of Issel, who is averaging 23.0 points and 9.2 rebounds a game and who beat such standout centers as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar of Los Angeles, Bill Walton of Portland and Bob Lanier of Detroit.

Walton withdrew from the game Thursday because of an inflamed achilles tendon and was replaced by guard Don Buse of Indiana, the NBA's assist and steal leader.

"I hate to get our booster group out forcing votes, but I guess we might have to next year," said Kansas City general manager Joe Axelson. And Los Angeles coach Jerry West said the fan voting "has become a farce. It's a travesty when great players like Walton or Lanier or Abdul-Jabbar are left off the team."

To which Issel responded, "I didn't cheat anybody. I didn't make the rules. The people of Denver really wanted to see their players in the game."

An equal number of ballots were distributed to each league city. But some teams, like the Nuggest, were more aggressive than others in urging their fans to vote.

An NBA spokesman said the method of selecting next year's all-stars has not yet been determined.

Five of the 10 starters began their pro careers by playing in the defunct American Basketball Association - Issel, Jones, Thompson, Erving and McGinnis.