Rockets Coach Kevin McHale Reportedly Set to Return from Leave of Absence

Alex Kay@AlexPKayCorrespondent IDecember 8, 2012

After an extensive leave of absence to deal with an unfathomable personal tragedy, Kevin McHale is reportedly set to return to the Houston Rockets on Saturday night.


UPDATE: Saturday, December 8 at 6:10 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

According to reporter Jason Friedman, McHale confirmed that he will coach Saturday night versus the Dallas Mavericks:

Coach Mac is back. Confirms he WILL be coaching tonight vs. Mavs.…

— Jason Friedman (@JasonCFriedman) December 8, 2012

---End of Update---


According to the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen, McHale hasn’t made it clear if he will coach against the in-state rival Dallas Mavericks, but he will be at the game:

Kevin McHale will rejoin the Rockets tonight, source said. Don 't know if he'll coach yet.

— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) December 8, 2012

It will be his first time back at the Toyota Center since taking his leave back on November 10. Assistant coach Kelvin Sampson has been handling the HC duties in his stead.

The coach’s daughter, 23-year-old Alexandra “Sasha” McHale, tragically passed away following a long battle with lupus on November 24, and the former Boston Celtics power forward has been away from the team to bereave with his family.

It is extremely brave of coach McHale to return to his job and continue his work with the Rockets after such a terrible loss. He was given as much time as he needed away by team owner Leslie Alexander and was in everyone’s thoughts and prayers these past few weeks.

McHale, enshrined in the Hall of Fame upon completing a stellar 13-year career, has been coaching since 2005, when he took over as an interim HC for the Timberwolves in his native Minnesota.

He left his post to become the team’s GM, compiling a 19-12 record during his 31-game stint to close the campaign, and once again assumed coaching duties for 63 games during the 2008-2009 season.

After working as a TV analyst for a short while, he accepted the Rockets' offer to become head coach in 2011 and led the undermanned team to a 34-32 record in the lockout-shortened season.

It’s great to see the hoops legend is getting back to his team on Saturday night, and we hope that basketball can help him cope during these trying times.