NYCFC midfielder Keaton Parks out after surgery to remove blood clot

New York City FC midfielder Keaton Parks will soon undergo surgery to remove a blood clot from the popliteal artery in his lower right leg, the club announced Wednesday.

Per NYCFC, a precise recovery timeline isn’t yet established. He'll begin rehab immediately with NYCFC's medical staff.

Parks underwent the same procedure last year, missing out on NYCFC’s Audi MLS Cup Playoffs run and eventual MLS Cup 2021 title over the Portland Timbers. The 24-year-old returned this spring to help NYCFC reach the Concacaf Champions League semifinals and challenge for first place in the Eastern Conference standings. A huge part of their central midfield group, Parks has two goals and two assists in 14 games (11 starts) this MLS season.  

“First and foremost, Keaton’s health is our priority and on behalf of everyone at the club, I’d like to wish him all the best for the surgery and his recovery,” sporting director David Lee said in a release. “We’re obviously extremely disappointed to lose a player of his quality. He's a fantastic player and very important to the way we play. As we experienced last season, building a deep squad is vital to withstand these types of situations and so naturally, this will provide opportunities for other players.”

Without Parks, NYCFC are expected to lean upon the likes of Alfredo Morales, Nicolas Acevedo, Gedion Zelalem and more. It also presents a tactical wrinkle that interim manager Nick Cushing must solve, just four matches into the club’s post-Ronny Deila chapter (left for Belgium’s Standard Liege).

Before coming to NYCFC, initially on loan in 2019, Parks was with Benfica in Portugal. The once-capped US international has 10 goals and seven assists across 90 games (73 starts) in the league.

“We have an incredible medical staff here and Keaton will receive the best possible treatment during his recovery,” Lee added. “We do not yet have a specific timeline on when he will be available and will be guided by his progression through his rehab, but we are confident he will make a full recovery and are looking forward to having him back with the group.”