Former Humboldt State running back Ja’Quan Gardner’s first season as a pro has ended prematurely after he was placed on injured reserve this week.

Gardner, who has been tearing it up this year for the San Diego Fleet of the newly-formed Alliance of American Football league, injured his right shoulder last weekend and will undergo surgery to repair the damage.

According to a report on the league’s website, Gardner could have played through the injury but made the decision to have the surgery now so he will be better prepared for NFL training camps this summer.

Fleet head coach Mike Martz told the league website, “It’s in his best interest to get that done now, so he could potentially have an opportunity (to get signed in the NFL). If he waits another month, he’s not going to make it.”

Gardner, who holds all the major rushing records at HSU, rushed for 311 yards for the Fleet, including back-to-back 100-yard games earlier in the season, and is expected to have an opportunity with an NFL team this summer.


Ray Hamill writes at, where you can read lots more about sports in Humboldt County.