Kevin McHale returns to Rockets' bench

Scott Halleran

The Rockets' head coach told the media on Saturday that it felt like the right time to return to the team after his daughter died on Nov. 25.

After a lengthy leave of absence, Kevin McHale has returned to his position as head coach of the Houston Rockets and will be on the bench for Saturday night's game against the Dallas Mavericks, according to a 'report from Jason Friedman of Rockets.com.

McHale began his leave of absence on Nov. 10 to travel to Minnesota to be with his ailing daughter, Alexandra "Sasha" McHale, who died on Nov. 25 at the age of 23. On Saturday, McHale spoke with the media about his decision to return to the team:

"It feels good to be back. I've been gone for a pretty long time and I'm going to rely on the players to make plays and the coaches to help me out. It's been awhile but hopefully it's the right time. I don't know if there is a right time. I don't think there is a playbook for this but I'm excited to be back."

One day after McHale took his leave following a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Nov. 9, the Rockets earned a 96-82 victory against the Detroit Pistons to improve to a 3-3 record. Kelvin Sampson served as the coach in McHale's place and led the Rockets to the team's current record of 9-9. McHale told reporters on Saturday that Sampson did a "tremendous" job in his place.

Tip-off for Saturday's home game against the Mavericks is set for 8 p.m. ET.

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