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Jeff Demps “fine” after precautionary MRI

New England Patriots v Tampa Bay Buccaneers

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 24: Running back Jeff Demps #42 of the New England Patriots returns a kickoff against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in a pre-season game August 24, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. The Bucs won 30 - 28. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

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The Patriots have a decision to make regarding rookie running back Jeff Demps. And they have to make it soon.

The undrafted Olympic sprinter signed with the team only two weeks ago, choosing the Pats over the Buccaneers. With the final roster cuts coming on Friday, the Patriots must decide whether to keep Demps on the 53-man roster or to expose him to waivers in an effort to add him to the practice squad.

But there’s an alternative. If Demps is injured, he can be placed on IR, giving the Patriots the full offseason to get him ready for 2013.

Speculation that Demps is headed for injured reserved intensified Wednesday night, after Demps reportedly felt something “tweak” in his leg late in the preseason finale against the Giants. The Boston Herald reports that a precautionary MRI has revealed that Demps is “fine.”

Coach Bill Belichick may want a second opinion. If there’s any doubt about Demps’ ability to contribute with limited prep time and if there’s likewise any chance another team would claim him on waivers (the Giants possibly would do it as Jake Ballard payback), the Pats’ best move would be to find a plausible way to move Demps to IR.

We’ll know what the Patriots have decided to do with Demps by Friday night at 9:00 p.m. ET.