Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau said after Tuesday's 99-96 loss to the 76ers that Robinson (hand) has been cleared to take contact in practice, Ian Begley of SportsNet New York reports.

Though Thibodeau suggested last week that Robinson wasn't especially close to returning from the surgically repaired right hand that has sidelined him since Feb. 12, the coach's latest update about the center strikes a more optimistic tone. Robinson has shed the cast on his right hand, so at this stage, he may just need to regain conditioning in practice after having missed the Knicks' last 14 games. A return for Thursday's game against the Magic may be a stretch, but if Robinson checks out fine during full practices Friday and Saturday, he could be ready to go for Sunday's rematch with Philadelphia. Nerlens Noel has seen his production wane of late and has been held under 30 minutes in each of the Knicks' last four games, so Robinson should be in good position to recapture his starting role once he's cleared to play.

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