FRISCO, Texas– The next domino in the Ezekiel Elliott case fell Thursday afternoon, not long after the Cowboys completed their final practice of the bye week: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit vacated Elliott's preliminary injunction, paving the way for his suspension to be reinstated, according to NFL.com and reports.
The ruling against Elliott comes 10 days after NFL and NFL Players Association lawyers made oral arguments before a three-judge appellate panel with the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans.
The NFL previously filed for a stay of the injunction that has blocked Elliott's six-game suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy.
Elliott has appeared in all five of the Cowboys' games this season, rushing for 393 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Cowboys are off this week and play next on Oct. 22 at San Francisco.
The NFL announced in a statement that Elliott's suspension will begin immediately and he will be eligible to return to the team Friday, Nov. 24, the day after its Thanksgiving game against the Chargers.
(Update late Friday: According to NFL.com and reports, the NFL Players Association plans to petition for a rehearing of Elliott's suspension case with the Fifth Circuit en banc, meaning full court rather than an appellate panel.)
On Aug. 11, the NFL suspended Elliott six games following a year-long investigation into July 2016 domestic violence allegations against Elliott by a former girlfriend. In September 2016, the Columbus (Ohio) City Attorney's Office announced that Elliott would not face charges. A player can still face punishment from the league under its personal conduct policy even if he is cleared of legal charges.
On Sept. 5, the week of the Cowboys' 2017 season opener, independent arbitrator Harold Henderson upheld the suspension. The NFL Players Association then filed for a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order on behalf of Elliott.
U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant III granted both and subsequently denied the league's emergency motion for a stay of the injunction. The league then moved to the Fifth Circuit, which made Thursday's ruling.