Jim Kehoe all but lost a leg to a power saw in a weekend mishap but Maryland's indomitable athletic director insisted yesterday, "I'll be back working by (this) weekend."

Kehoe was cutting down trees with friends on his property in Chesapeake Md. A tree fell the wrong way, touching off a scramble in which the saw caught the Colonel in the left leg. It just missed his kneecap, cut bone and almost completely severed tendon.

He was on the operating table three hours at Calvert Memorial Hospital in Prince Frederick, and faces at least four weeks it a cast. In good spirits, nevertheless - and listed in good condition - he told a caller, "You win some and you lose some . . . I play tennis with my brother, you know, and I told him he better stay in shape for me. I'll be back."

Better believe it . . .

Two nice things about John Wayne being laid up in Boston: (1) that he could send John (Hondo) Havlicek, nicknamed by an Ohio State teammate for a Wayne western character, a telegram from his room in Massachusetts General Hospital that overlooks Boston Garden on Sunday that said, "Hondo is watching. Congratulations"; (2) that the old college footballer Wayne came within an ace of attending the Naval Academy instead of USC - was recovering well enough from his heart operation to send the message . . .

There was another emotional retirement ceremony a few hours later, in Philadelphia, and honoree Gary Dornhoefer responded with the 24th regular-season goal of his 11 years as a flyer. The big, hard hittert who contributed mightily to bringing Philly the Stanley Cup in '74 and '75 was showered with gifts as his wife, two children and his parents, from Kitchener, Ontario, stood by amid four standing pregame ovations. He prepped for his finaly playoffs by scoring the Flyers' only ogal of a meaningless 3-1 loss to Minnesota, then talked about the pregame show: "It's a good thing they didn't ask me to say anything at that time - no words would come out . . . I think I cried a cupful" . . .

Accentuating the positive some more, the Touchdown Club has tabbed Georgetown's Derrick Jackson the D.C. area basketball player of the year, Maryland's Tara Heiss the woman same, Hoyas as team of the year. Jackson, still recovering from ulcer removal, will miss this weekend's Aloha Classic in Hawaii but the TD Club's Ben Zola Award presentation at a noon Friday, April 21 luncheon (tix, $7.50; dial 223-1542) will help make up for that . . . The TD Club scores again April 28 with a Tribute to Billy DeRosa, saluting the little (5-foot-1) giant who qualifies as odds-on favorite to win any TD member popularity contest and deservingly so. The retired Air Force topkick, onetime boxer and all-time sports enthusiast out of Gonzaga - he used to be in the GWU publicity department - annually takes the hand of the "Timmie" youth footballer, now tables will be turned; dinner at 8, tickets $25 . . . And the skipper, Mr. Baseball hereabouts to many a sandlotter and pro, Joe Branzell, is in for a testimonial dinner Saturday, April 22 at the Knights of Columbus in Arlington; dinner at 8, tickets $17.50, c/o Al Comacho at the K of C, 5115 Little Falls Rd., Arlington 22207. . . Plus, Arlington's George McQuinn, the great American League first baseman of yesteryear, is one of this year's inductees, April 28, in the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame at Portsmouth . . .

What was Jim Palmer thinking, we wonder (besides whether he'll get that contested bonus), as he lingered in Florida, or someplace, trying to work out the knot in his pitching shoulder while his fellows on the Baltimore staff were taking that 40-run, 0-3 massaging in Milwaukee? . . . Brewer Manager George Bamberger offered that Ray Miller, the Prince George's guy who inherited his job as Oriole pitching coach, is going to take a lot of flak he doesn't deserve. "Even if I was still there we would have got whipped," said Bambi the magnanimous . . .

Well, here we are only three days until the Alexandria Dukes commence Carolina League ball-playing at Salem, Va., and the locals still are a long way from filling their roster. Even so, Mickey Mantle Jr. likely will have a hard time making the team. Due in for a tryout today, he drew considerable ink in New York Yankees' Florida camp but at 23, with no previous pro experience - he wasn't much baseball oriented until lately - if the Yanks couldn't find a Class A spot for their old hero's son, he probably will soon be looking at another line of work.