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McHale takes leave of absence from Rockets

Associated Press Modified: November 10, 2012 at 7:01 pm •  Published: November 10, 2012

Sampson was thinking more about McHale than worrying about his task of coaching Houston against the Pistons before Saturday night's game. He said the fact that there weren't high expectations for the Rockets entering this season makes stepping in easier.

"I don't think it's that challenging," he said. "We have a young team and we have a new team. I think it would be a lot more challenging if we were ... the No. 1 ranked team in the league. That might be a little more challenging. We're still growing."

Sampson is in his second season with the Rockets after spending three years as an assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks.