When the Mercury slumped to a 104-85 loss to the Sky on Sunday night, they did so without one of their biggest stars.
Phoenix announced Saturday that center Brittney Griner would not be traveling with the team on its two-game road trip this week. The first game came against Chicago on Sunday, while the second will be against the Fever in Indiana on Tuesday.
When will Brittney Griner return?
As of July 30, no timeline has been given for Griner’s return. Per the Mercury’s statement, she will miss at least Tuesday’s game against the Fever — and possibly more.
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Griner made her return to the WNBA this season after missing all of 2022 due to legal issues in Russia. She was arrested in February of last year for cannabis possession and spent nearly 10 months in prison before her release in December.
She has since spoken out about the stress of the ordeal.
“You’re going to be faced with adversities throughout your life; this was a pretty big one,” she said in April. “You find a way to just grind it out. You just put your head down and keep going, just keep moving forward. You can never stand still, and that was my theme. Just never be still. Never get too focused on the now, just look forward.”
The 6-foot-9 center — who became an international story during her 10-month detainment in Russia last year — is averaging 18.2 points and 6.7 rebounds over 20 games this season.
“The Mercury fully support Brittney and we will continue to work together on a timeline for her return,” the team said in a statement on Saturday.
Griner’s impressive individual season hasn’t translated to success for the Mercury, who have a 6-17 record and fired Vanessa Nygaard earlier in the season.
The Mercury’s tough season and coaching change are among the multiple challenges Griner has faced in her return to the WNBA following her ordeal in Russia on drug-related charges that caused her to miss the entire 2022 season.
Griner and her teammates were confronted by what the WNBA called a “provocateur” at the Dallas airport in June and she’s also dealt with a hip injury that caused her to miss a handful of games.
Griner will miss road games against Chicago on Sunday and Indiana on Tuesday.
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