TAMPA — Bucs punter Josh Bidwell's season is officially over, as the franchise's most successful punter was placed on injured reserve because of looming hip surgery.
Bidwell began experiencing hip pain last week and immediately had tests to locate the source of discomfort. Team doctors and, subsequently, a specialist determined arthroscopic surgery was the best option.
The procedure, general manager Mark Dominik said, shouldn't have any long-term impact on Bidwell's career despite his age, 33.
"In the long term, it's nothing career-threatening," Dominik said Monday. "That's the best news we have today."
Bidwell, a 2005 Pro Bowl selection, owns the top four single-season punting averages in club history. Since joining the Bucs in 2004, he has averaged a franchise-high 44 yards per punt.
Bidwell was replaced on the roster with veteran Dirk Johnson, who signed Thursday. Dominik said the team will stick with Johnson for now given his performance Saturday at Tennessee. Johnson punted five times, averaging 41.4 yards.
Bidwell's injury was a mystery given the fact it wasn't brought on by a collision.
"Over the last couple of years, Josh has said he had a little discomfort in his hip, nothing that's ever (gotten worse)," Dominik said. "It flared up and it was something we continued to dig into, and with all the information we had, this was a decision we needed to make."
The Bucs used the open roster spot to add receiver Marcus Maxwell, a 2005 seventh-round pick of the 49ers. He was cut by the Ravens this year.
"I got called (Sunday)," Maxwell said. "They flew me down, and I'm here today. It's a tough transition. I'm just trying to listen and get a few pointers."
Dominik didn't indicate that the addition of Maxwell was a reflection of the inconsistent play at receiver Saturday, but the team is looking for playmakers at the position.
Stephen F. Holder can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.