The lower-back issue that has sidelined Boston Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz since June may force him to miss the rest of the season, according to a Comcast SportsNet New England report.

Buchholz, who has been on the disabled list since June 17, has a stress fracture, an injury detected by an MRI taken last week when the pitcher had discomfort during a throwing session. The Red Sox called the injury a “muscle strain” late last week, but made an appointment for Buchholz to be examined by Dr. Robert Watkins, a Los Angeles back specialist.

“It’s not the simplest muscle strain we’ve ever seen,” Manager Terry Francona said last week.

The American League East leaders traded for Erik Bedard just before the trade deadline Sunday, a move that would seem to indicate that the Red Sox are expecting bad news on Buchholz when he sees Watkins today.

“Clearly, we have some concern for Clay,” Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein said. “It's been a couple of months now, which is longer than we expected it to be. We're still awaiting some more feedback and another opinion. I think we have a feel for what might be going on, but Clay is seeing another expert [Watkins] to get his opinion and then we're all going to put our heads together this week.

“I'll refrain from answering in too much detail until we have a chance to talk to Clay and we have a chance to talk things through. … We think we're in the process of getting to the bottom of it, and we're all going to put our heads together early this week and talk about it with Clay before we discuss it publicly.”