Stanford DE Ben Gardner out for the season with pectoral injury

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Stanford defensive end Ben Gardner will miss the rest of the season after suffering a torn pectoral muscle, head coach David Shaw said Tuesday.

Gardner was injured in the second half of the 20-12 win at Oregon State, dealing another blow to a defensive line that was already without defensive end Henry Anderson.

Shaw expressed hope that Anderson would be available for Stanford's next game, its titanic showdown with Oregon on Nov. 7, but the absence of Gardner will definitely be felt against the Ducks. While Gardner only had two tackles in the 17-14 overtime upset win last season, his presence was crucial in holding Oregon to 4 of 17 on third downs and allowing linebackers Shayne Skov and Trent Murphy to create havoc.

Gardner was third on the team with 7.5 tackles for loss this season, while his 4.5 sacks are second only to outside linebacker Trent Murphy.

A 6-foot-4, 277-pound redshirt senior, Gardner ends his college career with 34 tackles for loss (17.5 sacks) and three forced fumbles. A tenacious worker and well-respected team leader, Gardner isn't the most physically impressive player but makes up for it with his relentlessness and underrated strength.

Depending on how quickly he is able to recover from the injury, Gardner could be an absolute steal for some NFL team continuing as a 3-4 defensive end or moving to play as a 4-3 tackle.

Shaw made the announcement at the end of his portion of the Pac-12 weekly teleconference, with unsolicited remarks from the third-year coach of the Cardinal now becoming a common occurrence.

Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.

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