Posted December 08, 2012

Reports: Coach McHale to rejoin Rockets after leave of absence

Ben Golliver, Houston Rockets, Kelvin Sampson, Kevin McHale, Sasha McHale
Kevin McHale will reportedly rejoin the Rockets on Saturday. (Layne Murdoch/Getty Images)

Kevin McHale will reportedly rejoin the Rockets on Saturday. (Layne Murdoch/Getty Images)

By Ben Golliver

Rockets coach Kevin McHale will reportedly return to Houston and rejoin his team after a weeks-long leave of absence on Saturday.

The Houston Chronicle reports that McHale, who left the Rockets on Nov. 10 to attend to his family, will rejoin the team and return to the sidelines for a Saturday night home game against the Mavericks. MyFoxHouston.com also reported that McHale would rejoin the team Saturday.

McHale’s daughter, Sasha, passed away on Nov. 25 after battling lupus.

Last month, Rockets owner Leslie Alexander issued a statement of condolences to the McHale family.

“I extend my deepest condolences to Kevin and Lynn for the loss of their beautiful daughter, Sasha, on Saturday afternoon,” the statement read.” Kevin and Lynn are loving and dedicated parents who will need our continued support throughout this very difficult time.  Our entire organization is mourning the McHale family’s loss and we ask that you keep them in your thoughts and prayers.”

The Rockets have been wearing jerseys patches and ribbons in honor of Sasha McHale and held a moment of silence for her prior to a Nov. 27 game against the Raptors in Houston.

In McHale’s absence, assistant Kelvin Sampson has served as interim coach. Sampson and the Rockets elected to attend Sasha McHale’s memorial service in Minnesota on Nov. 28, in the middle of a back-to-back against the Raptors and Thunder. Sampson explained the team’s decision to the Houston Chronicle last month.

“It’s about supporting Kevin and his family. Kevin is hurting, as any parent would. I think it’s important for our players. They haven’t had a lot of contact with Kevin since he left (Nov. 10). Being able to just give him a hug, let him know we’re there for him and supporting him. We’ve got to go play a game tomorrow night, but this is just a lesson in perspective.”

Rockets star James Harden posted messages of support on his Twitter account following the memorial service.

In Minnesota supporting Coach McHale and his family,” he wrote. “Take a quick second and pray for their family. Please & Thank you! R.I.P Sasha McHale.

Just made me sit back and think about how precious life is and how sometimes we all take it for granted.

Houston, 9-9 on the season, is 7-6 under Sampson entering Saturday night.
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