Orlando City striker Pato undergoes knee surgery, out 3-6 weeks

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Julia Poe, Orlando Sentinel
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Orlando City striker Pato underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Tuesday after suffering an injury in the Lions’ home opener on April 17.

The club said the surgery was successful. Pato is expected to undergo a three- to six-week recovery process before returning to competition with his teammates.

In the week following Pato’s injury, Orlando City originally said the striker’s injury would not require surgery.

Pato’s debut in Orlando was promising at first — he started the home opener against the longtime rival Atlanta United and came inches from scoring a pair of second-half goals.

But that introduction was cut short when an awkward landing in the 80th minute resulted in Pato’s right knee buckling under his body. The striker tumbled to the ground in immediate pain, although he was eventually able to walk himself to the sideline and celebrate with the team on the pitch after the match.

Pato’s career has been molded and marred by injuries. After winning the FIFA Club World Cup and earning a transfer to AC Milan at the age of 18, the striker was expected to become the next great Brazilian soccer icon, only to have a series of injuries cut his legacy short.

The Lions have been similarly plagued by injury-ridden stars like Kaká and Dom Dwyer, who delivered on and off the pitch when healthy but struggled to log full seasons.

Orlando City is now facing a long-term adjustment for scoring options after the team granted star striker Daryl Dike the full duration of his loan to Barnsley for the Championship playoffs.

The team currently fields three strikers — Tesho Akindele, Matheus Aiás and rookie Derek Dodson. Both Aiás and Dodson are still adjusting to the team’s style of play, and coach Oscar Pareja said he doesn’t expect the rookie to debut for at least a month.

Despite these striker absences, the team scored four goals in the last two games, fueled by a pair of goals from captain Nani.

The Lions will host New York City FC on Saturday, May 8. The match will kick off at 6 p.m. with a live broadcast on ESPN.

This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Julia Poe at jpoe@orlandosentinel.com.