Oct 19, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; Arizona Cardinals linebacker Dennis Gardeck (45) tries to tackle Dallas Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton (14) in the end zone in the first quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

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Cardinals LB Gardeck (knee) will miss rest of season

Arizona Cardinals linebacker Dennis Gardeck will miss the rest of the season due to a knee injury, coach Kliff Kingsbury said on Thursday.

Gardeck was injured during last Sunday’s victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. He was caught up in pile of bodies and grabbed for his right knee.

Kingsbury said the team was holding out hope Gardeck might be able to return.

“With Dennis, he’s such a tough guy, we were kind of exploring every option to get him out there,” Kingsbury said. “It doesn’t appear it’ll work out, so he’ll be put on IR.”

Gardeck, 26, is one of the feel-good stories of this NFL season and has seven sacks in just 93 defensive snaps.

He was a standout at Division II University of Sioux Falls (S.D.) and was a 2017 finalist for the Cliff Harris Award, which goes to the top small college defensive player. Gardeck went undrafted but made the Cardinals in 2018 due to his special teams’ prowess.

While excelling on special teams, he didn’t play a single defensive snap in his first two NFL seasons. But he was pressed into duty earlier this season after star pass rusher Chandler Jones was lost in October with a season-ending biceps injury.

Gardeck had two sacks in a game on three occasions — including each of the past two contests — since receiving his opportunity.

“He refuses to lose,” defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said. “Most of his sacks, he’s been blocked, he’s been stoned, and he just won’t stop. For a big offensive lineman, blocking him consistently is tough, because his energy level, the speed he plays with and the power he can generate with that body, it’s very rare. We’re going to miss Dennis.”

The Cardinals (8-6) host the San Francisco 49ers (5-9) on Saturday.

–Field Level Media

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