Houston Rockets head coach Kevin McHale has taken a leave of absence on Saturday to attend to his daughter who is reported to be ill. There is no timetable for his return.
Assistant coach Kelvin Sampson will take over the team while McHale is out, Houston announced. Sampson said that McHale called him and asked him to coach the team.
“Hopefully whatever the family matter is, it gets taken care of. That’s the most important thing.”
Rockets GM Daryl Morey didn’t go into details about the situation, but did make a statement.
“Kevin is a devoted family man who is needed back home in Minnesota at the moment. The Rockets organization will keep Kevin and his family in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”
Sampson addressed the team on Saturday and hoped he could spin it into a positive.
“Oftentimes in life we have things happen to us, and we have to make decisions on how we’re going to react to them. This is one of those times. We lost our leader. I think we can use this as a catalyst to bring us together and fight for him.”
Carlos Delfino also made a statement.
“We’re going to use it as motivation, to do it for him, for his daughter,”
The Houston Rockets won their first game without McHale against the Detroit Pistons. Tonight they will be tested against the champions in the Miami Heat.