After being detained by Russia for allegedly smuggling “narcotic drugs” into the country and subsequently released two months ago, WNBA star Brittney Griner is now officially back on the court and practicing with the Phoenix Mercury. The team shared three photos Tuesday in which Griner, 32, can be seen shooting hoops, sporting a black WNBA tank top, black and purple shorts over dark purple leggings, and a gold chain. Her hair features a slight fade on the sides. “There she is 🧡,” the team captioned the photos.
According to reports on Monday, Brittney Griner has signed a one-year, $165,100 free-agent contract to rejoin the Phoenix Mercury. In the 2021 season, she played for the same team and had an average of 17.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 1.8 assists.
Upon her arrival back in the United States in December, Griner had expressed her desire to return to the team after spending nearly ten months in a Russian prison. Griner wrote in a lengthy Instagram post that she wished to “make one thing very clear,” and she intended to “play basketball for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury this season.” She further added, “In doing so, I look forward to being able to say ‘thank you’ to those of you who advocated, wrote, and posted for me in person soon.”
In December, Griner had her first basketball workout. Her agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, told ESPN at that time that Griner would take the holiday season to consider her future plans. Colas mentioned that there was no specific timeline for Griner’s return, as she was now reintegrating into a world that had changed for her. She also mentioned that if Griner decided to return to the court, it would be her decision to share, adding that she was doing well and had endured her experience in incredible ways.
Last week, WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert revealed that she had met with Griner in Phoenix and that Griner was doing remarkably well and had started training. Engelbert expressed her excitement to have Griner back in the league after the ordeal she had gone through.