Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was denied his appeal for an injunction by the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Thursday, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com, which means he will be forced to serve his six-game suspension immediately while his case against the NFL proceeds.
Elliott was appealing Southern District Judge Katherine Failla's denial of his injunction, which meant he would have been forced to serve his six-game suspension beginning last week. However, the Second Circuit gave him an administrative stay, which allowed him to play last week.
It was unclear whether the three-judge panel would rule immediately or take several days to come to a decision on Elliott's request for an injunction. But Thursday's decision means the running back will be out of action until Week 16 against the Seattle Seahawks.
Any legal recourse Elliott may have to delay his suspension is akin to a late-game Hail Mary pass:
Pelissero noted Elliott's appeal hearing is scheduled for Dec. 1 and pointed out the Cowboys play four games between now and then.
It's the latest twist in what has been a long and protracted legal battle against the NFL. The league suspended Elliott for violating its personal conduct policy after he was accused of committing domestic violence in July 2016. While Elliott was never arrested or charged with a crime, the NFL stated it found enough evidence in its investigation to justify a suspension.
Elliott appealed his suspension before going to the courts. His request for an injunction was originally granted before Judge Failla overturned it.
Elliott's lawsuit against the NFL already faces an uphill climb—Tom Brady similarly took legal action against the league, and the courts upheld commissioner Roger Goodell's right to hand out suspensions since the players and league collectively bargained it—and Thursday's ruling represents a major short-term loss for the running back as well.