Sharp, who had just recovered from a hamstring injury, was pencilled in to feature at Queens Park Rangers on Friday evening as he approach full fitness. Instead, his name was absent from the teamsheet completely after he tore his calf muscle earlier in the week in training.
With Heckingbottom revealing the Blades’ skipper, top scorer and talisman will be out “for weeks, not days”, he will miss this weekend’s final game of the regular Championship season against Fulham.
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Victory against Marco Silva’s promoted side will seal the Blades’ place in the play-offs – and in that eventuality, Sharp will work around the clock in a bid to play a part in the end-of-season promotion shootout.
“It was just random,” Heckingbottom said of Sharp’s injury. “It wasn’t a taxing session. He stayed out to do some extras, because he felt he needed it for [QPR] and just felt his calf.
“So he’ll be out for the foreseeable. It’s weeks, not days. But he’s committed to doing all he can to try and get back if we can extend our season.
“That’s what we want. He could sit and do nothing and let the season fritter by. But if there’s a chance of us getting him back involved, we’re going to take every chance.
“But he has to be willing and of course he is. If he thinks there’s a chance of playing in the play-offs for Sheffield United, for his hometown club, he’s going to do all he can to get there.”
The 36-year-old, who has scored 15 goals for the Blades this season and recently saw his contract extended to tie him to Bramall Lane for another year, was “training like an 18-year-old”, according to Heckingbottom, before sustaining the damage on Monday afternoon.
“He looked so lively and you could see he was feeling good. It’s one of those things, and the way it seems to be going for the group and for Bill, coming back.
“He’s worked so hard to get back, and it was just random.”