News and Notes: Mac's Back

Kevin McHale rejoins the Rockets amid rash of injuries
by Jason Friedman Writer/Reporter

HOUSTON - Houston Rockets head coach Kevin McHale rejoined the team Tuesday, leading practice this afternoon after being away from the club the past week due to the passing of his mother.

McHale said he watched each of the three games that he missed and, not surprisingly, saw more than enough to let him know that a great deal of work needs to be done to get his team firing on all cylinders again.

“You get a different perspective watching it from afar,” he said. “We had a really good effort against Golden State. We can talk a lot about technical stuff, but I didn’t think our effort against Sacramento was nearly as good as it needed to be to win games, especially on the road. We’ve had that off and on all year. We have to have a minimum effort level that we give every night.

“We’ve got to get more of a baseline where we’re more solid every single night. We’ve got to get more consistent.”

Hindering that consistency, of course, is the fact that the Rockets continue to run into injury issues both big and small. Jeremy Lin (back) and Omer Asik (thigh contusion) both missed practice, with McHale adding that Lin is scheduled to see a specialist today to help in his recovery from a back injury suffered during the first half of last Friday’s game against Golden State.

James Harden missed his second straight day of practice as well due to a sprained left ankle. Houston’s All-Star shooting guard did cardio work and went through some light shooting after practice, but was unsure as to whether or not he’ll be able to play tomorrow night against the Chicago Bulls.

“It’s going a lot better,” he said. “The next morning (after Sunday’s game), it was hard for me to walk. Now I can walk and jump on it a little bit so I’m just trying to ice it and keep the swelling down.”

The Rockets did receive some good news as Terrence Jones and Chandler Parsons returned to practice Tuesday, but even the latter player is nowhere close to 100 percent given that he’s dealing with lingering back and thigh issues, and just had an ingrown toenail removed yesterday as well. Nonetheless, as with the rest of the Rockets players and coaching staff, Parsons said he’s just happy to have McHale back on the court with the team.

“Not having his voice or his face over there, it makes a big difference,” said Parsons. “I’m just glad to have him back. He seemed like he was in good spirits today. As players, we’re going to do everything we can to make him feel comfortable and at home and just continue to play hard and try to win games for him.”

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