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McHale’s Mother Passes, Sampson Will Coach At Portland

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(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Rockets Coach Kevin McHale was away from his team the last two days and now his return is unknown. Multiple reports Wednesday night indicated his mother has passed away.

“It’s tough,” James Harden said after today’s practice but before the reason was known publicly as to why McHale wasn’t with the squad. “He’s our leader. He’s our mentor. It is a sad story for his family.”

Kelvin Sampson has taken over the coaching duties in McHale’s absence.

“Hopefully we get coach back as soon as we can,” Jeremy Lin said Tuesday. “But Coach Sampson is also capable and he knows what he is doing as well.”

The Rockets will play in Portland Thursday night, at GoldenState Friday and conclude the three-game west coast trip Sunday at Sacramento.

The funeral for McHale’s mother will be held Friday in Minnesota.

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