Rockets coach Kevin McHale takes leave of absence

Scott Halleran

Houston Rockets coach to take a leave of absence to deal with a family matter.

Houston Rockets coach Kevin McHale has taken an indefinite leave of absence to deal with an undisclosed family matter, the Associated Press reported Saturday.

"Kevin is a devoted family man who is needed back home in Minnesota at the moment," Rockets general manager Daryl Morey told the AP. "The Rockets organization will keep Kevin and his family in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time."

Assistant coach Kelvin Sampson will take over as interim coach with McHale out, beginning with Houston's game Saturday at home against the Detroit Pistons.

McHale, a Hall of Fame player with the Boston Celtics, is in his second season as head coach of the Rockets. The team finished 34-32 in last season's lockout-shortened season and the Rockets are 2-3 through their first five games this season.

McHale previously served as the interim coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves twice while he was the general manager of that franchise, coaching 31 games during the 2004-05 season and 63 games during the 2008-09 season.

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