Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott just took one giant step closer to possibly playing for the entire 2017 season. 

Despite his six-game NFL suspension, Elliott has been allowed to play so far this season because U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant handed down a preliminary injunction on Sept. 9 that prevented the NFL from suspending Elliott until his case made its way through the court system. 

After Mazzant made his decision, the NFL quickly filed to have it overturned, but now the league has been shot down again. In a ruling issued on Monday, Mazzant denied the NFL's motion for an emergency stay of his preliminary injunction. If Mazzant had granted the stay, it would've overturned his own decision and likely led to the suspension of Elliott. 

Instead, Mazzant's decision means that that NFL will be taking its legal case to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The league has already filed an appeal with the the Fifth Circuit Court and its hoping a decision will come down this week. If the court sides with the NFL, then Elliott's suspension could start soon after the decision is rendered. 

The good news for Elliott is that the Fifth Circuit doesn't have a high reversal rate, which means that on the surface, they would be highly unlikely to overturn Mazzant's injunction. According to numbers from attorney Daniel Wallach, the Fifth Circuit only overturned a total of 7.2 percent of the appeals they heard in 2016. 

One thing Elliott also seems to have on his side is Mazzant. In his ruling from Monday, the Texas judge basically called the NFL hypocrites for filing an appeal with the Fifth Circuit before he had a chance to answer the league's appeal himself. The hypocritical part comes in because the NFL had blasted the NFLPA for filing an appeal with Mazzant before NFL arbitrator Harold Henderson had ruled on Elliott's case.  

"In its Emergency Motion in front of the Court, the NFL is complaining that the Court essentially issued a premature order by failing to wait for the arbitrator to issue his ruling and therefore, lacked subject matter jurisdiction," Mazzant wrote. "Oddly, the NFL is now seeking expedited relief from the Fifth Circuit without first waiting for the Court to rule on the identical issue. The irony is not lost on the Court."

In his ruling from Monday, Mazzant also asked the Fifth Circuit to take his ruling into serious consideration. 

If the Fifth Circuit rules in Elliott's favor, then he'll likely be able to play the entire season. If the court grants the NFL an emergency stay of Mazzant's injunction, then Elliott could end up starting his suspension shortly after that.