Harmison was in impressive form against South Africa
Durham's request to play Steve Harmison in a Division One county game against Nottinghamshire has been turned down by the England and Wales Cricket Board.
The fast bowler was told to rest by the ECB after his exploits for England in the fourth Test against South Africa.
But Durham asked the ECB to reconsider after the first day of the game against title rivals Notts was washed out.
"I don't know what he's been rested for as he's not in the one-dayers," said Durham skipper Dale Benkenstein.
Harmison is not in the squad for England's five-match one-day series against South Africa, and is unlikely to return to the England set-up until at least December when England tour India.
Benkenstein added: "The next [England] Test match is in about five months' time.
"If Stephen had said he wanted to rest, obviously that's fine.
"He has now had two days off, because he didn't bowl on Monday - or Tuesday.
"Going straight from Monday to a game on Tuesday might have been asking a bit much."
The ECB has also made Nottinghamshire's England bowlers Stuart Broad and Ryan Sidebottom unavailable for the game.
Harmison bowled 43 overs in the final Test after being recalled and England coach Peter Moores said: "The first job with Steve was really to decide in the short term what was best for him.
"Durham were starting a game on Tuesday. To be fair to him, I spoke to Steve on Sunday after we came off the field - and he was emotionally and physically drained.
"He'd put a lot into the Test match; he'd waited a long time for his comeback game and he did a fantastic job.
"His first job is to have a bit of a break, recharge the batteries and then go back to Durham."