Ezekiel Elliott was denied an injunction by a federal appeals court in New York on Thursday, a ruling that clears the way for the NFL to enforce the six-game suspension of the Dallas Cowboys running back over allegations of domestic violence.

The ruling came about an hour after Elliott’s hearing in front of a three-judge panel of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. The opinion from the panel ruled it denied Elliott an appeal as the merits of his case against the NFL “failed to meet the requisite standard.”

NFL spokesperson Joe Lockhart told reporters on a conference call Thursday that Elliott would be immediately suspended if the appeal court denied the injunction.

The judges did grant an expedited appeal as part of the same ruling, although no date for the hearing was set.

Elliott, however, will remain suspended as his appeal of a district court's decision last month is considered by the 2nd Circuit, unless the full panel of the appeal court grants a stay --- which would be highly unlikely.

Lawyers for the NFL Players Association, who represent Elliott, could ask all 22 judges of the 2nd Circuit to reconsider Thursday's decision that denied Elliott an injunction, known as an en banc petition. The NFLPA also likely would seek a stay of Thursday's ruling as the petition is considered.

En banc petitions, however, are rarely granted and a stay as one is considered also would be unlikely.

The Cowboys face the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. If Elliott serves the term of his ban, he would be eligible to return on Christmas Eve as the Cowboys play the Seattle Seahawks.