After being introduced as a substitute during the second-half of today’s 4-1 defeat at Coventry City, McBurnie was forced to hobble off before the final whistle following a collision with his former team mate Simon Moore.
Revealing the Scotland international is suffering from a dead leg, Heckingbottom said: “Oli, he wasn’t really moving as we know he can and that was obviously a worry. We had to protect him. We have to protect him as we do others out there.
“We’ll see how he goes. He’ll obviously be getting treatment. But there’s no point in pretending the (overall) situation is good. We need to start getting some of these lads back.”
With nine first team players already ruled-out of action before kick-off, Heckingbottom was forced to recall 20-year-old defender Kacper Lopata from Southend before travelling to the Midlands. He joined fellow youngsters Oliver Arblaster and Femi Seriki on the bench at the Coventry Building Society Arena, while teenager Kyron Gordon made only his second league start.
Providing an insight into the difficulties he is facing when it comes to team selection, Heckingbottom confessed fitness issues are now beginning to influence United’s decision-making process during games.
“We are having to protect people like Ozzy (Ben Osborn) too, he added. “Because he’s only just come back from a muscle problem. There’s a few we’re having to do that with, it’s just how it is.”