Bob Dandridge said yesterday his latest leg injury may end his career. $1He also admitted he is nowhere near ready to play and the the Bullets were justified in placing him in the injured list Monday.

However, he emphasized that he wants to play again and will do everything he can to achieve that goal.

Dandridge, 33, must miss at least five games while on the injured list. And while his Bullet teammates take on the rejuvenated New York Knicks tonight at Capital Centre at 8:05, Dandridge will spend another night wondering if his career is over.

"I would like to play this season and I'm still hoping I can," Dandridge said. "But this latest injury could be a career ending thing. I don't know. I have to look at it optimistically. I want to keep playing and I want to finish my career on an upswing.

"Basketball is still No. 1 in my mind and I definitely want to play. I sure wouldn't be going through all I've gone through if I didn't. I wanted to play 10 years when I first came onto the league, but afterI got to the 10-year mark, I still felt I could do the things in the court I wanted to. At training camp this year, I was really looking forward to having a good season and playing one or two more years.

"After being out last year and being away from playing for so long and all of the other stuff I went through, I was really looking forward to playing."

Dandridge played in only 45 games last season because of assorted injuries. The most serious ailment was a compressed nerve in his right leg that required surgery over the summer.

Dandridge started slowly this season, but was beginning to get into his stride until Ray Williams of the Knicks came down on his back in a game at Madison Square Garden Nov. 1.

"He came down on me while I was bent over and I felt the pressure in my entire leg," Dandridge said.

Dandridge has practiced once and hasn't played a game since. The injury has been diagnosed as strained cartilage of the right knee, but the area near where he had the surgery is also sore. Dandridge said he simply cannot play.

No one in the Bullet organization, including its medical people, has questioned Dandridge's sincerity about the injury. Team physician Stan Levine, said Dandridge's right leg is weaker than his left and there is swelling and discomfort. Therapist Bill Neill also has worked with Dandridge and agrees with Lavine.

"Nobody can really pinpoint the problem," Dandridge said. "I have pain in the leg and behind the knee and in the same area where I had the surgery on my nerve. Until I know exactly what's wrong and correct it I can't play. oThe nerve is functioning much better, but all along there has been calcium in the area. I can do some things, but I couldn't work out and play my normal game."

This is Dandridge's 12th season in the NBA and he is in the final year of a contract that doesn't have an option year.

General Manager Bob Ferry said the decision to put Dandridge on the injured list also was influenced by a knee injury suffered by Carlos Terry this week. Ferry said he needed able-bodied players and Dandridge wasn't close to being ready to play.

Former Bullet Coach Dick Motta often wondered if Dandridge really was hurt and questioned his motives. New Coach Gene Shue says he accepts the fact that Dandridge can't play.

"When he's ready, he'll play," Shue said. "We can sure use him and we want him, but there isn't anything I can do about it. He's hurt."

Austin Carr will dress for tonight's game and might see some action for the first time since he suffered a knee injury on Nov. 22 . . . The Knicks have two of the top guards in the NBA in Ray Williams and Michael Ray Richardson. Williams, who scored a career-high 42 points the last time the teams met, is averaging 21.5 points for the season. Richardson, a 6-foot-5 playmaker, is averaging 15.1. Richardson is also fourth in the league in assists with eight a game and Williams is ninth with 6.7. They are also fourth and fifth, respectively, in steals. Richardson gets 2.81 thefts a game and Williams, 2.57.