Jebbison, who was recalled early from his season-long loan deal at Burton Albion last month, did not appear during the stalemate against Hull on Tuesday, despite United searching for a winner and only making two substitutions.
Oli McBurnie led the line from the start, supported by Morgan Gibbs-White and Iliman Ndiaye, after Heckingbottom’s bold decision to leave skipper and top scorer Billy Sharp on the bench.
Heckingbottom explained that decision after the game, telling The Star that he felt Sharp needed a rest to keep him firing on all cylinders and a pre-match analysis of City’s tactics provided an ideal opportunity.
The United boss admitted he considered sending on Jebbison for the final 10 minutes at Bramall Lane.
"We did think about that for the last 10, because Oli was tiring,” Heckingbottom said.
"But when we are putting the ball in the box, I'd back Billy if anything drops and I would back Oli in the air.
"We were getting the ball in with ease but it was just the chances, and that was from minute one. There was a header from Robbo [Jack Robinson] and the set plays, then we went with a couple of one-on-ones, then we had a couple of snap shots.
"That was the story of the game. We just didn't take them."
Jebbison’s loan spell was cut short after Rhian Brewster damaged a hamstring and Lys Mousset was allowed to move out on loan.
The decision to bring back the England youth international looks even more sensible after David McGoldrick suffered an injury that could keep him out for a substantial chunk of the run-in.
“It just shows how quickly things can change, doesn’t it?” Heckingbottom said of Jebbison’s rise from seventh-choice striker to effectively third.
“We tried to get the balance in the squad right in January but it can change as quickly as that, with two big injuries.
“That’s why we’ll be using all the players. Hopefully [Ben Osborn] will be back in the next few weeks and that’s another attacking option.”
Asked if Jebbison would play in the coming weeks and months, Heckingbottom admitted: “Possibly. That’s down to him and how the game is panning out.
“You have to be performing to get in the team and Jebbo has noticed a change in intensity in training.
"And that’s another reason why it was good for him to come back.”