The preliminary hearing on the injunction to block the lockout has been scheduled for April 6, and the NFL owners have chalked up a victory with Monday's developments.
Judge Susan Richard Nelson will hear the case, not Judge David Doty, who has historically sided with the players in similar cases. Last week, when everyone assumed Doty would be on the case, the injunction was viewed merely as a formality that would be ruled in the players' favor.
Now, there is a whole lot less certainty. In fact, sources have told NESN.com the players' side is a lot more nervous about the fate of the injunction because their ally, Doty, won't be on the case. Because this is a preliminary hearing, things could still change, but for the time being, the players are aware that their court victory is nowhere near as certain.
If the players win the injunction to block the lockout, one of two things will happen while the players and owners still try to negotiate a new collective-bargaining agreement. The NFL would reopen its business, either under the guise of the 2010 rules or under the last best offer in the negotiating room.