Bucs' lone punter Bidwell injured

TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay punter Josh Bidwell will miss the Buccaneers' preseason opener because of a hip injury.

The 10th-year pro had an MRI on Wednesday. The results were being evaluated.

"Josh is experiencing hip pain. ... It's too early for us to sit here and say what's the severity," general manager Mark Dominik said.

The Bucs signed veteran punter Dirk Johnson to fill in for Bidwell.
The 34-year-old Johnson was released in June by the Steelers after spending most of last season with the Cardinals. He will make his debut for the Bucs in Saturday night's preseason game at Tennessee.

To make room on the roster, defensive tackle Greg Peterson was waived injured. A fifth-round draft pick in 2007, Peterson appeared in 12 games over the past two seasons.

Johnson punted in 12 games last season for Arizona, averaging 41.8 yards. He has also played for New Orleans, Philadelphia and Chicago.

Bidwell had been the only punter in training camp. He felt fine after kicking in practice Tuesday, but arrived for Wednesday's workout in pain.

"It really flared up on him," Dominik said, adding that the hip has not been a problem for the 33-year-old in the past.

The injury comes one day after kicker Matt Bryant, who's competing with Mike Nugent, left practice with a sore hamstring. He will miss Saturday's game, too, as will receivers Antonio Bryant (knee) and Michael Clayton (hamstring), center Jeff Faine (groin) and linebacker Angelo Crowell (hamstring).

Coach Raheem Morris shrugged off a question about being without the incumbent punter and kicker.

"I pride myself on not worrying about it and being mentally tough about it. We have one punter, we have to bring in some guys to compete, let some guys punt and deal with it that way," Morris said.

"The same thing with the kicker. Those things we can't control, those things I can't control. There was no sled that those guys had to hit, there were no tackling drills that they were involved in. You control what you can."

Bidwell, a Pro Bowl selection in 2005, is in his sixth year in Tampa Bay. He spent the first four seasons of his career with the Green Bay Packers.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.