Badgers expect Ball back for opener

Wisconsin's Montee Ball won't be a full participant in preseason practice for a while, but the overall news about the star running back seems promising.

Badgers head coach Bret Bielema said following Monday's practice that he expects Ball to return midway through camp and be ready for the season opener Sept. 1 against Northern Iowa. Ball sustained a concussion and facial injuries when he was attacked by five men last week in downtown Madison.

There's no need to fast-track Ball after a concussion, and the senior doesn't need much time to get ready. James White, Melvin Gordon and others will get the majority of work at running back in camp.

The subplot for Wisconsin is the fight involving players days before the attack on Ball. Ball has denied TMZ reports that he had any involvement in the fight, which began the night of July 27. The senior has relayed the same message to Bielema, and police have said that while he was at the location of the fight, no evidence points to his involvement.

The concern is whether charges will be filed against other Badgers players.

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

"We would need some level of cooperation from a complaining victim in order to pursue criminal charges," spokesman Joel DeSpain wrote in an email. "As you know, in the earlier disturbance, no one called police. ... In the wake of the University Ave. battery, we became aware of the earlier disturbance and are now looking into what transpired."

It appears any athletes involved in the July fight did not violate UW's student-athlete discipline policy, but only because they have not been arrested or charged with a crime.

Stay tuned.