David Kasumu could be missing for six to eight weeks, Dean Lewington confirmed after the midfielder missed Saturday's League One opener against Bolton Wanderers.
While some supporters theorised his absence was due to an imminent transfer, Lewington said the 21-year-old picked up the problem in last weekend's 5-0 defeat to Bournemouth and after having a scan, would be ruled out for the first part of the season.
"He suffered it on Saturday," said the interim manager. "We thought it was just a knock and he was able to train. But it didn't settle and he's damaged his hamstring. He went for a scan on Thursday but we're looking at anything from six to eight week as it stands.
"I think it's more the ligaments of the hamstring rather than the muscle itself. It's a real disappointment because he's one of the shining stars of the team and we missed that quality."
Kasumu's absence meant a start for Blackpool loanee Ethan Robson at the University of Bolton Stadium and he performed well in the engine room of Dons' midfield.
Lewington added: "Ethan came in and did really well, and it offers him the opportunity to play and to show what he can do."