ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The federal judge handling the players' lawsuit against the NFL has ordered the sides to participate in mediation.

U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson says Monday that formal mediation will begin Thursday.

Nelson has appointed Chief Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan as mediator. He will meet with representatives of the players Tuesday, then representatives of the NFL on Wednesday.

The sides tried mediation before, but those talks broke off last month, leading to the NFL's first work stoppage since 1987.