Playing in the holding role, Williams received his fifth booking of the season in Saturday’s draw at Norwich City.
Heckingbottom said: “Joe’s suspended; he’s been treading that tight rope for a while now.
“He’s going to get suspended. He’s competitive, he tries to win every ball so it was only a matter of time really. He’s had one that was uncalled for, which has obviously been dealt with.
“The yellow card count’s been good this season and he’s had one needless one, which we can’t afford.
“They are part and parcel of playing in that role and that’s what happens.”
Gary Gardner was on the bench at the weekend after his spell on the sidelines and could come in to replace Williams.
Angus MacDonald should be okay after taking a kick to the foot and coming off on Saturday.
But Lloyd Isgrove is once again facing a few weeks out after picking up another injury.
The Reds have been in good form of late, and most pleasingly they have turned those performances in to points.
Eight points have been yielded in the past four games, where the Reds have been unbeaten, and they will looking to build on that when third-placed Cardiff travel to Oakwell tonight.
Barnsley won a classic seven-goal thriller with a last-ditch winner in Wales last term before a goalless draw in the reverse fixture.
Heckingbottom said: “It’s another test against a team that’s right at the top.
“They’re up there on merit, they’re really strong defensively.
“I’ve said it a few times this season that we’ll have to defend well. We know that because they’re got good players so we’ll have to defend our box well.
“They’ve definitely improved since last season, but their form improved last season after Neil [Warnock, manager] came in.”