Kirk Hinrich ready to return

DEERFIELD, Ill. – Just after Michael Jordan’s 50th birthday, Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau channeled Jordan’s famous 1995 fax statement, announcing “He’s back” for his injured guard.

Of course, Thibodeau was talking about Kirk Hinrich, not Derrick Rose.

“Kirk’s good,” Thibodeau said after Monday’s practice. “He’s back.”

Hinrich’s no Rose, but the Bulls definitely could use him. They went 2-5 in his absence, going into the All-Star break on a down note.

Hinrich didn’t take a vacation, instead working on his game so he could play Tuesday at New Orleans. He hasn’t played this month due to an infected right elbow that needed surgical repair. He pronounced himself and his troublesome bursa sac as “definitely 100 percent.”

“They operated on it, cleaned (the bursa sac) out and sewed it up, and I’ve been in a constant flow of antibiotics, so it should be good, fine from here on out,” Hinrich said.

Hinrich said he punctured his bursa sac “probably a month ago” and an ensuing infection was making him sick. He went to New York for a game against the Brooklyn Nets on Feb. 1, but flew home to see team doctor Brian Cole.

“It was an impossible stitch,” he said. “The feedback everyone was giving our trainers and doctors was there was a good chance it was going to get infected and it finally did.”

Hinrich is averaging seven points, with a career-low 38.1 shooting percentage, and 5.2 assists a game, but his value is running the offense and playing defense. The Bulls are 26-14 when he plays.