The Washington Bullets, who have been competing with only nine players the last three weeks, may have to make a roster move because of their latest injury, to valuable swing man Carlos Terry.

A decision will be made after team physician Stan Lavine determines the extent of Terry's injury today. The Bullets will play only twice this week, Tuesday against the Chicago Bulls and Friday against the New York Knicks, both at Capital Centre.

Terry hurt his left knee in Saturday night's 114-105 victory over the Indiana Pacers at Capital Centre. The victory snapped a three-game Bullet losing streak, but if Terry is out an extended time, it would have been a costly victory.

Lavine said Terry has strained ligaments and possible cartilage damage and told Terry to stay off the leg yesterday. Terry was felled early in the second quarter when driving toward the base line. Mike Bantom of the Pacers collided with him and Terry went down hard and had to be helped from the court. He stayed on the bench the second half with his knee heavily bandaged.

Terry isn't the only Bullet with knee problems. Bob Dandridge has been out since Nov. 1 with a strained ligament and swelling in a knee, and Austin Carr has missed three weeks after minor surgery to repair torn cartilage and remove bone particles from his knee. Carr is expected to begin working out this week, but it is still uncertain when Dandridge will play again.

Elvin Hayes also has missed a couple of practices and part of a game with a sore knee.

Terry, a free agent rookie from Winston-Salem, has become one of the most versatile, exciting and popular Bullets. He plays both small forward and shooting guard.

He was tried at guard during training camp, but after the season started, he played mostly at forward, until Carr injured his knee and Kevin Grevey went down with bronchitis and a bone bruise on his shooting hand.

That forced Coach Gene Shue to start Terry at guard for three games last week, against Detroit, Boston and New York. Terry also played a big part in the victory over Indiana before he was hurt. The Bullets won the game with an 18-0 scoring burst at the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second after Terry replaced Greg Ballard at small forward.

During that game, Terry played only 10 minutes and made four of four shots, had two offensive rebounds, three assists and a steal.

Shue used all three of his rookies, Terry, Wes Matthews and Rick Mahorn, along with Wes Unseld and Kevin Grevey, and the Bullets surged into control.

"I had to rest some people, so I went with that lineup," Shue said, "and it worked."

"All we needed was to get something going and that unit did it," said Unseld, who scored a season-high 22 points.

Grevey scored 22 points, including three of five three-point shots.

"We've come over a very tough stretch," Shue said, referring to the last five games, "and it's been hard on us. We played well in all of the games and had a chance to win all of them."

They ended up losing three of the five, but the losses were at New York, at Philadelphia and at home against Boston, three of the strongest teams in the league.