Brittney Griner undecided on WNBA return

Dec 8, 2022; Miami, Florida, USA; A welcome home graphic is displayed on the arena video board welcoming home WBNA star Brittney Griner, Griner was released from a Russian prison earlier in the day during prior to to the game between the Miami Heat and the LA Clippers at FTX Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

When, or if, Brittney Griner plans to return to the WNBA and the Phoenix Mercury, is undecided, her agent told ESPN.

Lindsay Kagawa Colas, speaking about Griner’s first days since her release from a Russian penal colony, said Griner grabbed a basketball on Sunday for the first time since she was taken into custody in February.

Her first shot? A dunk.

“If she wants to play, it will be for her to share. She has the holidays to rest and decide what’s next without any pressure,” Colas told ESPN. “She’s doing really, really well. She seems to have endured this in pretty incredible ways.”

The WNBA season begins May 6.

Griner was released from the prison on Thursday after the U.S. government negotiated a prisoner swap for the 32-year-old Phoenix Mercury star, sending convicted arms deal Viktor Bout back to Russia. She is receiving medical attention at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, where she and her wife, Cherelle, have been staying and greeting family members.

ESPN reported that when Griner leaves San Antonio, she and Cherelle will not return to their Phoenix home but instead to an undisclosed, private location.

“There’s no timeline on her return at this point. She’s reintegrating into a world that has changed for her now,” Colas said. “From a pure security standpoint, she’s not going to be able to move in the world the way she did. It’s not a fate that she asked for, but I think she’s going to try to utilize her fame for good.”

Among Griner’s priorities, her agent said, will be to contribute to efforts to bring other detained Americans home, starting with Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine who was convicted of espionage charges following his arrest four years ago. The Biden administration has been criticized by many for agreeing to send Bout back to Russia without having Whelan included in the deal for Griner.

–Field Level Media

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