Injury puts rookie WR Kenny Bell on roster bubble

Rookie receiver Kenny Bell is on the bubble to make the Buccaneers' 53-man roster. Ann Heisenfelt/AP

TAMPA, Fla. -- Early in training camp, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Kenny Bell seemed like a lock to make the team.

The fifth-round draft pick regularly made plays and seemed to have developed a good chemistry with Jameis Winston, who was Bell's training camp roommate.

But as the Bucs get closer to trimming their roster, Bell is very much on the bubble. The big plays declined later in training camp and Bell didn't do much in the first two preseason games.

Things got worse for Bell this week. He injured his hamstring in Thursday's practice and will miss Saturday's preseason game against Cleveland.

"He'll be down for a while," coach Lovie Smith said.

That could hurt Bell's chances of making the roster. The Bucs are set with Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans and Louis Murphy as their top three receivers. But Bell has been competing with Russell Shepard, Robert Herron and Kaelin Clay for the remaining spots.

Smith said Friday that Bell's injury will make it difficult to fully evaluate him.

"We've seen him," Smith said. "But we would like to see more of him, especially right now. Have we seen enough? No, it's not like right now where we say that we definitely know what direction to go. None of the young players have. Injuries are a part of it. Right now, we'll just evaluate him based on what we know right now."