The Phoenix Mercury stated on Saturday (July 29) that its star player, Brittney Griner, won’t be going on the team’s upcoming two-game road trip in an effort to concentrate on her mental health. She won’t be at the games against the Indiana Fever on Tuesday and the Chicago Sky on Sunday.
The Mercury stated in a statement, “The Mercury fully support Brittney and we will continue to work together on a timeline for her return,” according to ESPN. The team announced her return to the WNBA after a 10-month detention in Russia on drug charges around five months prior to the mental health sabbatical.
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Griner was detained for 294 days after receiving a nine-year prison sentence in Russia in August as a result of his detention at Sheremetyevo International Airport in February 2022. After taking part in a prisoner exchange between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin, she was let free on December 9.
In her first remarks to the public after returning home a week later, she declared her entire intention to return to basketball. Her affiliation with the squad for the 2023 season was made official by the signing of a new one-year contract in February. On May 19, during a game against the Los Angeles Sparks, she made her return in full.
Although she has been amazed by the love and support shown to her, there have been instances when detractors have put her to the test, including a terrifying encounter on June 10. She was being followed and harrassed by YouTube celebrity Alex Stein as she moved through an airport.
Brittney Griner was seen in a video that Stein himself shot being questioned by him about her stay in Russia, including whether or not she “had sex with Vladimir Putin” before being sent free. The man was tackled as the scene got out of hand, and law enforcement arrived. Fortunately, nobody was hurt or harmed.
On June 26, Griner remarked, “I think we should have already had the opportunity to utilize a different airline, a more private airline, charter flights. It’s unfortunate that things have to reach their lowest point because I’d rather wait for something to happen before making changes. You have no idea what that item will be.
The entire WNBA had been waiting for the day Brittney Griner returned to the regular season on May 19 after missing the entire 2022 season while detained in Russia. She swiftly regained her form over the course of the following two months, showing everyone why she is a previous All-Star and winner.
She has participated in 20 of the team’s 23 games thus far this season. Griner has been terrific, averaging 18.2 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.5 steals, and 1.7 blocks per game in 28.0 minutes per game although the team has struggled for the majority of the season. Last month, she was selected as an All-Star starter.
Griner scored at least 20 points in nine of her last 15 games, and at least 15 points in 12 of those games, between May 19 and July 9. The superstar’s performance hasn’t been as strong over the past five games, however, as she has only scored 15 points in one of those contests and is only averaging 13.0 overall.
Although it’s unknown whether her mental health has affected her performance, she made it obvious that she needs to take some time for herself, and we must respect that. She will have millions of supporters worldwide, and her devoted fan following will stick by her through good times and bad.