MADISON (WKOW) -- Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema says star running back Montee Ball won't be ready for camp after suffering a concussion early Wednesday morning when he was attacked on the street by five men.
MADISON (WKOW) -- An attack on one of the most notable UW football players has police searching for multiple suspects. Badger running back Montee Ball was in the hospital Wednesday morning. The UW Athletics Department says he was treated for a concussion and facial injuries.
Authorities say Ball was walking with two friends on the 500 block of University Avenue at about 2:15 Wednesday morning, when Madison police say five people assaulted him.
Public Information Officer Joel DeSpain says it seems to be an unprovoked act, in an area struggling with too much crime. DeSpain says right now, authorities are trying to find out why Ball was attacked, and if he was targeted for who he is.
"It certainly does not appear he knew these people and that this was unprovoked he was simply walking home," says DeSpain.
UW-Madison junior Luke Will was an eyewitness to the attack on Ball. Will says the attack left Ball on the ground, bloody and apparently unconscious. Will says he and others rendered basic first aid, and tried to get a response from Ball, but Ball said nothing.
Will says as the group of attackers left the area, they taunted those remaining, suggesting Ball may have been targeted.
"When they passed us, they yelled out something along the lines like, 'Nine more football players to go.' "
The assault comes at a time when police are working to stop crime in the downtown area that's been getting out of control. They've had extra officers on patrol on weekends, following shootings, robberies and attacks.
"Chief [Noble] Wray is committed to resolving the issues in this area, and whatever that's going to take we're going to have to now reexamine things following this latest assault," says DeSpain.
Police believe the downtown crimes don't usually involve students, and could be gang-related. But for now, the cause of the early morning attack on Ball remains unknown.
"I just think its kind of crazy-- not just that it was Montee Ball but that someone can walk across the street and just get jumped by random people," says UW student Nick Sanders.
Police are trying to get a better description of the suspects, talking to witnesses and reviewing surveillance video. A property manager on Johnson Street tells 27 News that she turned in video that shows what could be the suspects running south-- away from the scene, and then passing the camera again less than an hour later.
See the Madison police incident report for the most updated description of the suspects.
DeSpain says it doesn't appear that Ball had any previous contact with the attackers.
Ball told police his cell phone is missing, so officers are investigating whether it was taken in the attack. If so, then the suspects would face robbery allegations too.
Will says Ball had been at State Street Brats before the attack. Will says he was also there, and noticed no trouble or friction between Ball and anyone else.
Head coach Bret Bielema released a statement Wednesday morning saying:
"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."
Bielema also tweeted that Montee will report to camp on Sunday for team meetings.
Ball tweeted Wednesday morning:
"I appreciate the support and thank you for the concerns.I will be okay! See you guys in September! #WiscONsin"
UPDATE: UW athletics has confirmed Montee Ball suffered a concussion when he was assaulted early Wednesday morning. No timetable for his return has been set.
MADISON (WKOW) -- Police are searching for a group of males believed to have attacked Badgers running back Montee Ball while he was walking on University Avenue.
Witnesses reported to Madison police that five men jumped 21-year-old Ball while he was walking in the 500 block of University Avenue around 2 a.m. on Wednesday. He was knocked to the ground and kicked.
Ball was taken to a hospital with head injuries.
Police say it doesn't appear that Ball knew his attackers. The incident is being investigated as an unprovoked assault.
Head coach Bret Bielema released a statement Wednesday morning:
The suspects were last seen running south on N. Frances Street toward the Kohl Center.