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Montee Ball won’t play in UW’s spring game

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There’s only one surefire way a coaching staff can guarantee that one of its star players won’t be injured in an essentially meaningless spring game — don’t put him on the field.

And, as it turns out, that’s exactly the tack Bret Bielema has decided to take.

The Wisconsin head coach announced Monday evening that star running back Montee Ball will not participate in UW’s spring finale this Saturday. While not specifically mentioning the risk of injury, Bielema intimated that said risk simply wasn’t worth it for a player of Ball’s caliber.

“When you see him run in practice, you’ll know why he didn’t need the practice of getting hit,” Bielema said in quotes released by the team. “We will in the fall. He’ll take some shots in the fall.

“But in my six years as head coach, I think there are certain guys that you just realize they’re… Montee Ball’s the hardest worker, the hardest repper in practice. At this point we don’t feel it’s necessary to take him to the ground. He’s been in there, mixing it up, full go, pass protection, all that stuff. Yeah, just don’t need to.”

Coming off a season in which he was a Heisman finalist after leading led the country in rushing yards (1.923) and rushing touchdowns (33), Ball’s name will litter preseason stiff-arm trophy watch lists.  The last thing Bielema needs, especially with the departure of Russell Wilson and utter uncertainty at the quarterback position, is for Ball to sustain any type of injury in an irrelevant exhibition game that would negatively impact what will be the back’s final season with the Badgers.

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8 Responses to “Montee Ball won’t play in UW’s spring game”
  1. woebegong says: Apr 24, 2012 7:54 AM

    Hey coach, what about the fans that support your team? Couldn’t he just make a cameo appearance for a couple of plays. Don’t forget who pays for your tennis shoes.

  2. beedubyatoo says: Apr 24, 2012 9:34 AM

    Don’t forget who pays for your tennis shoes
    I believe it’s Adiddis or Nike now, after years with Reebok.

    Bielema’s right on the money with this one. Badgers lost Lee Evans for a year after an ACL tear suffered in the spring game. He came back after a redshirt year and played his senior year and still ended up a first round pick in the draft. #13 to the Bills.

  3. woebegong says: Apr 24, 2012 9:41 AM

    So, they couldn’t afford to have him in a few plays to generate some excitement for the fans. Tennis shoe comment was just a way of saying, the fans support is what keeps a team going, so they should at least see their star for a few plays, even if all he does is stay out of the way. One has to wonder, is he that fragile, that they feel the need to keep him out of the game.

  4. muskyhunter2542 says: Apr 24, 2012 9:46 AM

    2002 SeasonEvans tore his ACL in the Spring Game and missed the entire season. The Badgers struggled mightily on offense in his absence.

  5. udontnohim says: Apr 24, 2012 11:08 AM

    I think he is doing a smart thing here. Why risk injuring your starting RB for a spring game? Sorry, I agree with the coach. The season is much more important! We all know what Ball is capable of doing at this point. Lets give some of the other guys a chance to shine. I don’t think it has anything to do with him being fragile. It’s just the smart thing to do at this point. I’m not sure if Ball has had an injury listed at this point besides the helmet to helmet he took at MSU.

  6. jumbossportsblog says: Apr 24, 2012 1:21 PM

    Reblogged this on jumbossportsblog.

  7. nightman13 says: Apr 24, 2012 1:55 PM

    I agree, the Badgers have a lot of retooling to do this year on offense with a new coaching staff and losing several starters. Ball is the offense until proven otherwise. Why potentially flush the season to please fans at the spring game?

    What’s a better message to the fans, a few plays in a scrimmage and then losing your best player for the year or keeping him out and not risking anything?

    RBs have the highest risk of injury for any position by far, it’s just a smart decision.

  8. stpaulpackerfan says: Apr 25, 2012 10:34 PM

    Monte Ball for Heisman!…why is this even a question? I don’t always agree with Bielema, but sitting Monte is an easy decision especially since we always play a few warm-up games to start every season.

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