Brittney Griner returns to the lineup of the Phoenix Mercury as the WNBA season begins this week. Griner spent the months of February through December in 2022 imprisoned in Russia after being arrested for drug smuggling during her time playing overseas basketball.
She signed a one-year contract with the Mercury in early 2023. In a statement, Mercury general manager Jim Pitman said, “We missed BG every day that she was gone and, while basketball was not our primary concern, her presence on the floor, in our locker room, around our organization, and within our community was greatly missed.”
The eight-time All-Star and 2013 No. 1 draft pick has been with Phoenix throughout her entire WNBA career. In 2021, she averaged 20.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.
It is unclear how the Mercury plan to work Griner back into their lineup and how much playing time she will be seeing. There are also security concerns with her travel that the Mercury brass have addressed, which could affect her time on the road.