Miami Heat

How was Dion Waiters’ quick trip to Sioux Falls? ‘I don’t think I missed a shot’

What was Dion Waiters’ two-day stay in Sioux Falls, S.D., like?

“Freezing. I ain’t going to lie to you, man,” Waiters said Sunday. “I felt it before we even got off the plane. My feet started getting cold like 20 minutes in the air before we landed.”

But apparently Waiters was hot once he stepped into the gym because he claims he didn’t miss a shot during his quick trip to Sioux Falls for two “training camp-like” practices with the Heat’s G League affiliate. The 27-year-old guard practiced with the Skyforce on Friday and Saturday, and was back in Miami on Sunday.

“I feel great. I feel great,” said Waiters, who is inching closer to a return from January surgery on his left ankle but did not play Sunday against the Timberwolves. “You ask those guys out there, I don’t think I missed a shot. I’m talking about a lot of deep shots, too. A lot of just attacking, making plays for other guys also. Just trying to teach them the game also. They will tell you. They will tell you.”

Waiters, who has not played in a game since undergoing ankle surgery Jan. 22, was sent to Sioux Falls to participate in 5-on-5 work, which is something he hasn’t been able to do much of with the Heat because of its busy in-season schedule.

“I needed it,” Waiters said. “I enjoyed it, playing 5-on-5 and just getting back into my element and just being able to have fun, talk trash, a whole lot of s--- talking.

“It’s competition. Any time you get a guy like that coming up there to compete, it always takes it to another level. That’s what I just try to do, go up there. I missed the game so much, so my competitive edge is at an all-time high right now. I think it was just fun, especially for me. I think competing with the guys, like I said, we were getting after it. I didn’t look I lost a step, that’s all I need to say.”

Even after Waiters’ productive trip to Sioux Falls, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra made it clear there’s still not a definitive timetable for his return.

“He’s making progress. It was a great trip,” Spoelstra said Sunday. “There’s no big next step other than continuing to work.”

When Waiters was asked what the next step is for him to get back on the court, he didn’t hesitate with his answer.

“I’m ready,” he said. “The next step for me is walking into the locker room and seeing that No. 11 back. That’s it.”

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Anthony Chiang covers the Miami Heat for the Miami Herald. He attended the University of Florida and was born and raised in Miami.
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