Wilkinson was sent flying by a tackle in the 84th minute from Black Cats midfielder Gardner, who got nowhere near the ball and was booked for his trouble in Saturday's 0-0 draw at the Britannia Stadium.
Having picked himself up off the turf, the Stoke man appeared to accept his opponent's apology with some form of a handshake.
Pulis was later keen to point to that as an example of how players should conduct themselves on the pitch.
The manager, who has been calling in recent weeks for more action to be taken against diving, said: "I thought Andy Wilkinson's reaction to the challenge with Gardner in the second half was absolutely fantastic.
"The crowd have gone up and it looks a bad challenge from where we are. Whether it was I'm not sure, but he certainly caught Wilko.
"But he (Wilkinson) got up, shook his hand, dusted himself down and got on with the game. That is the way it used to be.
"We talk - and I have been one - about people diving in boxes and falling over, and there is a lot made of that.
"Have a look at what Wilko has done there. That is the spirit of the game and that is men playing against men. It is not boys - it is a man's game and I thought he was very good in doing what he did."