With only one business day remaining before the first Sunday of the 2012 regular season, Judge Helen G. Berrigan will issue a ruling, one way or the other, on Friday.
Even if she doesn’t issue a ruling, she necessarily will issue a ruling. By failing to grant the pending motions to lift the suspensions of Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, Saints defensive end Will Smith, Browns linebacker Scott Fujita, and free-agent defensive end Anthony Hargrove, Judge Berrigan will essentially be denying the motions.
There’s no reason for further delay. As explained by Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the NFL has filed its written response to the mst recent motion to lift the suspensions pending a final decision on whether the suspensions would be overturned. The ball is now in Judge Berrigan’s court.
Assuming that a ruling comes on Friday afternoon, the NFL will have little or no chance to overturn the decision on appeal before Sunday’s games. And that’s likely why Judge Berrigan has waited. The downside, however, is that the players will end up having no chance to prepare for Sunday’s games, because they will have missed practice all week.
Of course, even if Vilma is permitted to play against the Redskins, there’s no reason to think he’ll be able to play. Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune explained on Friday’s PFT Live that Vilma likely will be placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list due to a lingering knee injury.
Of course, he’ll also be able to show up for the game, running (if he can run) onto the field with the team and helping whip the Saints fans into a frenzy that could match the first game back in the Superdome from nearly six years ago.