Star Wisconsin running back and 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist Montee Ball was attacked by five men while walking down Madison's University Avenue early Wednesday morning. The police incident report, obtained via UW press release, states that Ball was hospitalized for head injuries sustained after being thrown to the ground and kicked. The report further states, "It does not appear he knew his attackers and this is being investigated as an unprovoked assault."
Bret Bielema released the following statement through UW's Athletic Communications office:
“My concern right now is for Montee’s health and well-being. Montee has been released from the hospital and is under the care and supervision of our sports medicine staff. We will continue to evaluate him as we approach the start of fall camp this weekend. I do expect Montee to make a full recovery.”
Ball later tweeted to his followers:
I appreciate the support and thank you for the concerns.I will be okay! See you guys in September!
— Montee Ball (@M_Ball28) August 1, 2012
[UPDATE 8/3/2012] Ball will miss at least part of the Badgers' fall camp thanks to his concussion.
[UPDATE 8/6/2012] A possible angle to the motivations behind the attack on Ball emerged on Saturday, when the Madison Police Department's incident report was updated to indicate a possible connection between Ball's incident and "a fight that occurred Friday night (July 27th-28th) which involved UW students, members of the UW football team, and other individuals that were not affiliated with the University of Wisconsin’s Athletics Department." Ball, however, may still have been nothing more than an uninvolved bystander: "We have also determined that Montee Ball was present at the location of that fight, but we have no information that leads us to believe that he had any involvement in that particular event." We'll update this post with further details as they become available. Our sincere best wishes to Ball for a full and rapid recovery.