Wisconsin Badgers running back Montee Ball has been cleared to play in Saturday night’s primetime clash with the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
Both teams have already fallen in disappointing losses and the decision doesn’t make much sense when considering the implications—Ball is coming off of a mild concussion he suffered against UTEP just one week ago.
Sure, Wisconsin needs its star running back in order to knock off the Cornhuskers. That’s certain after the team has struggled heavily even with him in the lineup in the early stages of the 2012 season.
But the running back has now sustained two concussions within a matter of two months. On August 1, Ball was assaulted by a group of men in downtown Madison, Wis.
Without Ball in the lineup things may be problematic for the Badgers who have struggled and limped their way to a 3-1 record. The team is averaging 143 yards per game on the ground, that’s 87th overall in the NCAA. Their passing game has been even worse, recording just 169.8 yards per game through the air.
An absence of Ball would definitely make things difficult for the Badgers in trying to keep up with the ninth ranked scoring offense of the Cornhuskers. Nebraska is averaging 48.5 points per game while holding its opponents to just 19 points per contest.
As vital as he is for his team to win right now, is it worth it for the senior running back to rush back into the action when he has ideas of competing in the NFL someday?
Concussions shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially for the running back position. The position is inherently linked to the injury as running backs carry the ball more and take more hits than any other player on the football field.
If Ball is rushing himself back out there for the sake of the Badgers, it’s a noble gesture and valiant effort but could end up hurting his chances for playing on Sundays if something goes awry.
Mike Hoag is a Breaking News Team writer with Bleacher Report and also covers the Cleveland Browns and the NFL for the site.