|Returning Heisman finalist Montee Ball is hoping to be ready for Wisconsin's opener Saturday. (AP)|
MADISON, Wis. -- Three suspects accused of assaulting Wisconsin running back Montee Ball were arrested Tuesday, nearly a month after the Heisman Trophy finalist suffered a concussion during an early-morning attack near campus.
Three 21-year-old men from Madison are facing battery charges but haven't been formally charged, according to a police report. Authorities have said Ball sustained a concussion when he was attacked by several men in Madison on Aug. 1.
Police have said the attack may have been related to an altercation at a house party that Ball attended a few days earlier, though detectives say they have no evidence suggesting Ball was involved in that fight. The altercation is still being investigated, according to the police report.
Ball, a Heisman finalist last season as a junior, has denied any involvement in the fight and says he hopes to be ready for the season opener.
According to police, Ball was walking down a street around 2:15 a.m. on Aug. 1 when two friends walking ahead of him turned around and saw him on the ground, surrounded by several men who were kicking him in the head and chest. The attackers fled when one of his friends and a man across the street moved to help him.
Ball had a stellar season last year, scoring 39 touchdowns to tie Barry Sanders' NCAA record. He finished the year with 1,923 yards rushing and 2,229 all-purpose yards, second in Wisconsin history only to Ron Dayne's 2,242 yards in 1996. Ball capped the season by rushing for 164 yards and a touchdown in the Badgers' 45-38 loss to Oregon in the Rose Bowl.
He announced days after the bowl game he would return for his senior season after NFL evaluators told him he would have likely been a third-round pick.