Brittney Griner will skip an upcoming road trip with the Phoenix Mercury “to focus on her mental health,” the team announced on Saturday. The WNBA star is going to miss at least two games that her team is scheduled to play during the trip to Chicago and Indiana this week, although the Mercury said it is still finalizing “a timeline for her return” to the court.
“Mercury center Brittney Griner will not travel with the team on its upcoming two-game road trip to Chicago and Indiana (July 30-August 1) to focus on her mental health. The Mercury fully support Brittney and we will continue to work together on a timeline for her return,” the team wrote on social media Saturday afternoon.
Griner, an Olympic gold medalist and seasoned WNBA all-star, originallyearlier this year after being released from custody in Russia. The professional athlete had been detained in Russian prisons for nearly 10 months on drug charges before she was freed in a high-profile prisoner swap last December for an arms dealer previously imprisoned in the United States.
Griner re-signed a contract with the Phoenix Mercury, the team where she had played for years prior to the detainment, in the months following her arrival back home. She made her first officialthis season when the Mercury played against the Los Angeles Sparks in May. About a month later, Griner played in her first All-Star game since her return.
“It meant everything to me,” Griner told the crowd after the All-Star game,reported. “I didn’t think that I would be here today, honestly but everybody sending letters, sending love, posting. I’m still seeing it to this day everything that everybody did. It really meant a lot to me, it gave me hope it made me not want to just give it up for anything, so it was this league that helped me out.”