Steve Kean says he asked Gael Givet to play in Blackburn's 3-0 defeat at Swansea, but felt the defender was "not in the right frame of mind" to do so.
The Frenchman, 30, has not featured for Rovers since his sending off in the 7-1 loss at Arsenal on 4 February.
"I said: 'We need you to play today'," stated Kean. "[But] he was nowhere near in the right frame of mind to do it.
"I can't get inside somebody's head, I can only say how much we and his team-mates need him."
Kean says that he needs players who are willing to play through the pain barrier, as he looks to lead Blackburn out of the relegation places.
"We need guys who want to play even if they are injured or their heads are not quite right. If you look at David Dunn with his hamstring, he is having injections to play.
"But I would rather keep the conversation between myself and Gael private."
Since Givet's red card at the Emirates, Kean has preferred Grant Hanley and Scott Dann as his central defensive partnership as they continue their battle against relegation.
Rovers remain 19th in the Premier League after their fifth defeat in a row, and are three points from safety with just four fixtures remaining.
Givet joined Blackburn in January 2009 from Marseille, initially on a sixth-month loan before signing a four-year permanent deal.