Ezekiel Elliott would have played his first game on Sunday had he not sought to block his six-game ban through the federal courts.

Instead, he’s all but certain to miss the Dallas Cowboys’ next six games -- three against NFC East foes -- after U.S. District Judge Katherine Polk Failla denied Elliott an injunction on Monday. While the ruling doesn’t go into effect until Tuesday night, Elliott’s chances of staving off the suspension related to domestic violence allegations appear slim.

Failla’s 24-page ruling could also be interpreted another way: The federal courts may not be the place to settle disputes spelled out in the personal conduct policy portion of the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the NFL Players Association.

“Having negotiated with the NFLPA over the terms of a particular CBA, the NFL has an interest in obtaining the benefits of its bargain — an interest that might well be eroded if courts such as this one were permitted to micromanage the disciplinary decisions of the Commissioner,” Failla wrote.