Stanford will be without one of its key defensive players for the rest of the season as end Ben Gardner will undergo surgery to repair an injury to his left pectoral muscle, coach David Shaw said Tuesday.
Gardner, a fifth-year senior, left Saturday's win against Oregon State. He previously had been hampered for several weeks by what appeared to be a shoulder or upper-body injury.
"While this is not the way I had imagined my college playing days ending, all I can do is look up and thank God for one heck of a ride," Gardner wrote in a statement released by the school. He also encouraged his teammates to "beat Oregon and keep this thing rolling."
One of Stanford's team captains, Gardner had 19 tackles and a team-high eight quarterback hits. He is second on the team with 4.5 sacks and had 7.5 tackles for losses. Stanford ranks third in the Pac-12 in scoring defense, yielding 19.4 points per game. The Cardinal are tied for the league lead with 27 sacks.
Shaw also confirmed that Gardner's injury would stretch beyond the bowl season.
The No. 5 Cardinal are on bye this week and will host No. 2 Oregon next Thursday in a game sure to have major implications in the Pac-12 North Division and the BCS standings.
Shaw said "there's a chance" that fellow starting defensive end Henry Anderson could return against the Ducks, but he will make that decision after Anderson practices this weekend. Anderson has missed six games since injuring his knee in a victory against Army on Sept. 14.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.