Bullet center Wes Unseld has a pulled hamstring muscle in his right leg and his status is uncertain for tonight's game in Chicago against the Bulls (WDCA-TV-20, 7:30 p.m.).

Unseld did not accompany the team to Chicago last night, but went to see the Bullets' physical therapist, Bill Neill, at Kernan Hospital in Baltimore. Unseld said he plans to join the team in Chicago in time for tonight's game, however.

"I don't really know how serious the injury is yet," Unseld said yesterday.

"It hurts, but I'll try to play."

Unseld was injured late in the third period of Wednesday's 109-96 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers at Capital Centre. The victory snapped a four-game Bullet losing streak.

Unseld said he pulled the muscle as he went up for a shot against Kenny Carr. Carr was called for goaltending on the play, as Unseld grabbed the back of his leg and limped upcourt.

One minute into the fourth quarter, he removed himself from the game.

"I tried to continue for a while, thinking it would work itself out," Unseld said, "but it got worse. The only thing I could do for it was put ice on it, so I went to the dressing room."

The injury was first thought to be a pulled groin muscle because it is so high on the leg.

Rookie Rick Mahorn replaced Unseld and drew raves from Coach Gene Shue for his 11-minute performance. He made four of six shots, collected five rebounds and blocked a shot. The Bullets had only a four-point lead when Mahorn entered the game.

If Unseld cannot play tonight, either Mahorn or Mitch Kupchak will start at center. Shue said he has confidence in both.

Tonight's game is the first of three games in three nights. The Bullets will play the Boston Celtics at Capital Centre Saturday night and then head back west to play the Milwaukee Bucks Sunday.

Unseld didn't miss a game last season and had missed only seven games in the last four years.

Shue said guard Kevin Porter, who lost his starting job to rookie Wes Matthews Wednesday, will play tonight. Matthews played so well against Cleveland that he went the entire 48 minutes and Porter didn't play at all.

Shue said he wasn't disappointed in Porter's play, but felt that starting Matthews might help the rookie's play.

Matthews was spectacular in his first NBA start. He scored 20 points and had 11 assists, but more important to Shue, he committed only two turnovers and had only two personal fouls.

The 2-3 Bulls are struggling. No. 1 draft choice Ronnie Lester from Iowa, bothered by an injured knee, hasn't played yet. The Bulls picked up 6-foot-7 Bob Wilkerson from Denver to take his place. Wilkerson teams with 6-7 Reggie Theus in the backcourt to give the Bulls one of the biggest starting lineups in the league. The other starters are 7-2 Artis Gilmore, 6-9 Larry Kenon and 6-9 1/2 David Greenwood. . . The Bullets' 52 percent shooting accuracy in their victory over the Cavaliers marked the first time they shot better than 50 percent this season. They also had an impressive 39 assists. . . Kevin Grevy is in a shooting slump, having missed 21 of his last 27 shots.