Police: Montee Ball was at fight

Updated: August 4, 2012, 5:36 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Police in Madison, Wis., have found new evidence in the Montee Ball battery case that determines there was a fight the night before Ball was attacked involving Wisconsin football players with Ball present.

According to the police report on the City of Madison police website, there is no evidence Ball was involved in the fight, but there are leads on suspects which are not being released. During the attack, Ball suffered a concussion that will keep the Badgers' running back out of start of the preseason camp.

"Although Montee Ball was assaulted on a public street, this incident does not fit the pattern of random violence that we have seen in recent weeks in downtown Madison," Madison police department chief Noble Wray said in the online update posted Saturday.

Madison police, "through information developed by detectives, have determined that there was 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," said the report, issued by officer Howard Payne. "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.

"There was one individual that did sustain an injury during the fight, and was subsequently treated at a local hospital for that injury," the statement said. "There is a potential for charges to be pursued, related to the investigated fight, but no charges have been filed. As this investigation is ongoing, specific details outlining the identities of either victims or involved parties are not being released."

Police on Friday were investigating comments made by a witness, who reportedly said one of the assailants said something like, "One down, nine to go," Central District Capt. Carl Gloede told the Wisconsin State Journal.

Police said Ball was walking home just behind two friends when he was jumped by five men.

In their initial report Wednesday, police said there was no evidence Ball knew his attackers and were treating the incident as "an unprovoked assault."

Responding to an unattributed TMZ.com report that he was involved in a previous fight that provoked the attack, Ball posted on his Twitter account Thursday, "The report that I was involved in a fight is totally false."

Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said during a taping of a show at WISC-TV studios in Madison on Thursday that Ball won't be ready when practice begins Monday, the State Journal reported. The Badgers open the season at home Sept. 1 against Northern Iowa.

Bielema gave no indication Ball would suffer any long-term problems. He said Ball's absence will spare the Heisman Trophy finalist from a year ago hits and give other backs more repetitions.

Players were scheduled to report Sunday, ahead of Monday's first scheduled practice.

"My concern right now is for Montee's health and well-being," Bielema said Wednesday in a statement. "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."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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