Kenny, Ethernet cards going out are quite common. I have had them go dead when all I did is move a computer from one room to another and plug everything up. In fact I have a couple of computers around here with 2 cards in them, the dead on on the mobo and the replacement one. If one goes out on your laptop and you have a PCMCIA card slot you can get a wireless card for it or a USB wireless adapter. The only thing about the USB adapter route is it uses a USB port and Laptops don't have a lot of ports.
You can get a PCI card at wal-mart pretty cheap or you can get a wireless adapter and plug it into a USB port.