Buccaneers punter Josh Bidwell is on the mend.

Bidwell, 33, was placed on injured reserve in August due to a hip ailment that had bothered him off and on for the previous two seasons.

However, the pain in Bidwell's hip was aggravated in training camp, and the problem wasn't going to go away on its own.

Bidwell had surgery nearly two weeks ago and is on crutches, but plans to be back on his feet and punting again towards the end of the 2009 regular season or early in 2010. In the meantime, new punter Dirk Johnson is handling punting duties for the Bucs.

"I had my surgery a week and a half ago," said Bidwell. "I'm on six weeks of crutches. I just have to keep weight off that socket so I'm not tearing away the sutures.

"By the end of the season I'll be fine. I already feel my leg is able to go in positions it hasn't been able go in in a long time."

Bidwell consulted Dallas punter Mat McBriar about the hip/labrum ailment because he had a similar issue that required surgery. McBriar, who has averaged 45.2 yards per punt during his career, offered some encouraging advice to Bidwell.

"It was an option the previous two years not to have surgery, but not this time," said Bidwell. "I punted great then and it never bothered me, but something happened to where it got in a spot where I really felt it while I was punting.

"I talked to [McBriar] and he told me to do it and just kept raving about how good he felt after having that done, so I decided to do it."

Bidwell, who is a testicular cancer survivor, has been with the Bucs since 2004. He has averaged 42.8 yards per punt during his 10-year career in the NFL.

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