HOUSTON — At the start of any other holiday season, Kevin McHale would have been thankful to spend part of his day with his team, going over Xs and Os and looking ahead to their next game against the Knicks.
This year, however, the Rockets’ coach is hundreds of miles away with his family at Thanksgiving as they continue to work through a “personal family matter” that caused him to take an indefinite leave of absence.
McHale’s youngest daughter, Alexandra, has been hospitalized for several weeks, but the team and the family have not revealed details of her illness.
Acting coach Kelvin Sampson has kept in daily contact with McHale by phone and says that there is more reason for optimism.
“His situation is improving,” Sampson said. “It’s not out of the woods yet. There’s still a lot of concern, but it is improving.
“He’s beginning to want to talk more and more about the team. He’s watching the games mostly on a computer at the hospital. He and his family have not been home. They have a hotel room, and they’re bouncing back and forth between the hospital and the hotel.
“Kevin’s a pretty strong guy and he has his entire family there. There’s a lot of strength to be gained from being with your family.”
Another reason to be thankful.