Kevin McHale's mother passes away

Kevin McHale's mother passes away
December 11, 2013, 9:30 pm
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(Derick Hingle - US Presswire)

The Rockets went through a second consecutive practice without head coach Kevin McHale, who is away from the team after his mother passed away on Tuesday night. The funeral will be on Friday.

The team left after Wednesday's practice for their three-game road trip which begins in Portland on Thursday night. 

"We communicated last night," acting head coach Kelvin Sampson said about his recent conversations with McHale. "(I) had a real long talk with him this morning."

Sampson said it was totally McHale's call when he returns.

The team went 7-6 last season with Sampson serving as interim coach early last season, when McHale took nearly a month-long leave of absence dealing with his daughter, Alexandra, when she became ill and unfortunately passed away from complications from Lupus. 

"It's tough. He's our leader. He's our mentor," James Harden said. "It's a sad story having this with his family. I kind of was dealing with the same situation a couple of years ago, so I kind of know what it feels like. 

"We're praying for him and hopefully he can come back soon. He can just take his take his time and whenever he's ready, he'll come back."