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Bulls getting healthier as they welcome Robinson back to town

The Bulls continued to move closer to healthy for the start of the New Year on Thursday, as Kirk Hinrich and his injured hamstring will likely play tonight against Denver.

Hinrich, who missed five games with the injury, wasn’t the only Bulls player with good news, as rookie Doug McDermott feels like he’s closer to the six-week window of the right-knee surgery than the eight-week one.

“Close,’’ McDermott said. “It’s been about 2 ½ weeks since the surgery, so I think in another couple weeks I’ll be able to really get into things and hopefully practice.

“I’d say eight [weeks] is pretty high. Six would be more realistic. It’s going really well, though. The fact that I’m shooting, can lift and move around is really good.’’

The news of the day for the Bulls, however, was more Nate Robinson memories, with the point guard and his Denver Nuggets teammates in town for tonight’s game.

It was the never-quiet Robinson that helped carry a short-handed Bulls team to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs during the 2012-13 season, and really a team that had no business being there considering all the injuries.

“Nate’s a character,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He did a great job for us. The thing about Nate I always say is he’s scaring both coaches right now. He was wonderful. I got a lot of respect for him. Obviously, I coached him in Boston too. He’s a great teammate and did a great job for us.

“We were shorthanded that whole season. And at the end, we lost a number of guys through quirks really. And Nate was one of the guys who stepped up and played great. I got a lot of respect for that. He’s a great competitor. He brings energy. He brings juice every day to the team. And I like that about him.’’

When reminded that the locker room is now a lot quieter without Robinson, Thibodeau added, “[The] Plane too.’’