By Tom E. CurranEAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Jeff Demps, the Olympic sprinter imported to help boost the Patriots' return game, was injured Wednesday night against the Giants. Demps tweaked either his right knee or ankle on a second-half return and was seen with a pronounced limp as he made his way to the Patriots locker room after the 6-3 loss. It seemed as if the team's medical staff did x-rays on the injury. Demps, who signed as a rookie free agent after returning from the Olympics earlier this month, carried six times for 15 yards, caught three passes for 31 more and returned four punts and a kickoff. It will be interesting to see how the Patriots go with Demps as they cut down to 53 players by 9 p.m. on Friday. They could either release him and sign him back to their practice squad - a risky move because other teams expressed interest in him when he was unsigned. Any claiming team would have to put Demps on their active roster. They could put him on injured reserve, exceedingly unlikely. Or they could just keep him on the 53 and hope he's a quick healer. Meanwhile, right tackle Sebastian Vollmer returned for his first action of the preseason on Wednesday. He played well in place of embattled right tackle Marcus Cannon but came out after about 10 plays. He was seen stretching his back quite a bit on the sideline after he exited. He said he had no inkling what's planned for the regular season opener at Tennessee on September 9. "I'm sure the coaches will put the best five out there starting next week and I'm sure it will be a solid group," Vollmer offered.
It seemed like it was over for Antowain Smith in 2000, but he would be a valuable postseason piece for the Patriots in 2001 and 2003.