Ezekiel Elliott's season dangerously hangs in the balance after a U.S. District Court judge upheld his six-game suspension in a ruling late Monday.
In rendering her ruling, Judge Katherine Pol Failla denied the Dallas Cowboys star running back's request for a preliminary injunction after overseeing contrasting arguments made by league officials and representatives for Elliott.
ESPN reports the judge later stayed the ruling, meaning Elliott now has 24 hours to weigh and consider appeal options. On the surface, the ruling immediately renders Elliott ineligible for game action until the Cowboys are scheduled to take on the Oakland Raiders Dec. 17.
Elliott now has the option of appealing to the U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit, which has the authority of entering a stay that would allow him to continue to play throughout the appeals process.
Late Monday, the Cowboys indicated that they would have no comment on the latest developments, though earlier in the day, Coach Jason Garrett expressed that the team had considered the possibility of Elliott not being available when finalizing its roster.
"We have some veteran running backs," Garrett said during his weekly news conference. "We have some depth at that position. We'll take it one day at a time and we'll see what his situation is."
News of Elliott's banishment for violating the league's policy relating to domestic violence allegations was first announced on Aug. 11. Elliott was never charged with a crime stemming from an altercation involving former girlfriend Tiffany Thompson.
TMZ has reported Elliott has since maintained Thompson was never his girlfriend, but rather one of several women he was associated with.
With her verdict, Failla rejected many of the claims accepted by other judges who have overseen proceedings related to the case, including accepting the NFL's position that it followed the collective bargaining agreement in suspending Elliott and that those procedures were supported by federal labor law.
After getting off to a slow start, Elliott has picked up the pace of late, now ranking third in the league in rushing with 690 yards over the Cowboys' 4-3 start to the season.
The NFL's leader in rushing in 2016, Elliott is also currently tied for the league lead in rushing touchdowns over the first seven games with six.
[Featured Image by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]