Hip injury sidelines Tampa Bay Buccaneers P Josh Bidwell
Bucs punter Josh Bidwell is experiencing pain in his right hip, an injury severe enough that the team plans to audition and sign his possible replacement.
Bidwell, 33, is undergoing a series of MRI examinations today and the team is awaiting the results. He will not punt in Saturday night's preseason opener at Tennessee.
The Bucs have contacted free agent punters and will conduct a workout tomorrow morning, according to general manager Mark Dominik.
Bidwell punted in practice Tuesday but had severe pain in his right hip earlier this morning.
"Josh is experiencing hip pain,'' Dominik said. "We're in the middle of conducting MRIs and getting more information right now. To be quite honest with you, I'm not going to be coy with you guys, it's too early for us to sit there and say what's the severity, it really is. As soon as we get that information, we'll know.
"Our plan right now is we have a couple punters coming in tomorrow,'' Dominik said. "He's not punting this weekend. We'll have some other punters punting.''
Dominik said the hip injury is not something Bidwell has experienced in the past.
"It really flared up on him today,'' Dominik said. "It was real painful for him so it caused us to have to take more of a look at it. Whenever there is an injury, we take it serious...there's a lot of good hip doctors and we want to make sure the right people are looking at the MRI to make sure that we get the right information.''
Dominik disputed a report that Bidwell's condition was a degenerative one.
"I wouldn't say that, no,'' Dominik said.
It's another blow to the Bucs' special teams. Bidwell is the only punter currently on the Bucs' roster. PK Matt Bryant aggravated a right hamstring injury in practice Tuesday. He is competing with Jets free agent PK Mike Nugent.
Coach Raheem Morris prides himself on having a physical training camp with the team in pads nearly every practice. But it's his punter and place-kicker that have potentially the most serious injuries.
"I pride myself on not worrying about it, being mentally tough about it,'' Morris said. "We've got one punter. We'll have to bring in some guys to compete for the job and let those guys punt and deal with it that way. The same thing with the kicker. Those things you can't control. Those things I can't control. There was no sled those guys had to hit. There were no tackling drills that they were involved in...you control what you can.
"Right now, I'm controlling the environment. I'm not going to let you guys go, "Oh, whoa is me,' because we've got two guys hurt.''