Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
For those of you keeping minute-by-minute track of the StarCaps saga, here is today's update: U.S. District Court judge Paul Magnuson won't issue a ruling before Friday at the earliest, according to Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
That timetable has double impact in the NFC North:
It means New Orleans will have running back Deuce McAllister and defensive lineman Will Smith for Thursday night's game at Chicago. (Defensive lineman Charles Grant, the other Saints player implicated in the story, is on injured reserve.)
The Vikings, on the other hand, can't be 100 percent certain they will have defensive tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams for Sunday's game at Arizona. Conceivably, Magnuson could issue a ruling Friday that upholds the players' four-game suspensions. They discipline would take effect immediately.
To be clear, there is no indication that Magnuson will definitely have a decision -- or a request for more testimony -- by Friday. It's just the earliest possible day that it could happen. So, as always, stay tuned.