MIAMI ( – Federal Judge Susan Nelson enjoined the NFL from having a lockout, but the process is still a long way from clearing the way for business as usual in the league.

Players were free to report to team facilities starting Tuesday morning, but only Miami Dolphins cornerback Will Allen had appeared at the team facility by 10 a.m.

A similar trend was starting around the league with only a handful of players going to their respective team’s training facilities.

New York Jets offensive tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson showed up at camp Tuesday morning, but wasn’t allowed to use the team facilities to work out.

For the players and the teams, it’s all come down to a hurry-up and wait mode as they await the decision from Judge Nelson on whether to stay (delay) her decision and force the league to open for business starting either immediately or within a few days, or to kick the decision to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Nelson’s 80+ page ruling Monday evening left the NFL few, if any, areas for the league to successfully win an appeal. The NFL is confident they can win an appeal because a majority of the judges on the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals were nominated by Republicans.

Thus, the NFL believes they will be more inclined to be pro-business.

While the court battle plays out, the biggest losers, if the court battle lingers on past today, will be all of the parties involved. Players won’t be able to move into free agency and get traded to a new team.

The teams will not be able to have a good grasp on their needs heading into the 2011 NFL Draft Thursday night and may end up having to reach for players they wouldn’t have considered in a normal year.

That leaves a team like the Dolphins with a conundrum wrapped in an enigma heading into Thursday night.

The Fins have several areas of need to address in the draft, but in a normal year, they could fill some holes through free agency. That would give the team a better needs list heading into the draft.

But now, with the Fins unsure who, if anyone, will be available when/if free agency begins; the team must decide if they want to draft a quarterback like Ryan Mallett and assume they can’t get someone like Carson Palmer on the team.

Until a stay is either denied or granted, the NFL and it’s respective teams will continue to be in limbo.


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