Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner will miss at least two WNBA games to focus on her mental health, the team announced Saturday.
Griner, who was detained in Russia for 10 months last year on drug charges, returned to the WNBA in June and has been playing for the Mercury. However, the team said that she is “still processing the trauma of her recent ordeal” and that she needs time to “focus on her mental health and well-being.”
“We understand and fully support Brittney’s decision to take some time to focus on her personal well-being,” the Mercury said in a statement. “We will continue to be there for her every step of the way.”
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Griner’s decision to miss games comes at a critical time for the Mercury, who are currently in last place in the WNBA standings. The team has lost 17 of its last 23 games, and Griner’s absence will only make things more difficult.
However, the Mercury said that they are “committed to supporting Brittney in any way we can” and that they “will continue to work with her to determine her best course of action.”
Griner’s mental health is of paramount importance, and the Mercury are right to give her the time and space she needs to heal. The team is also right to be mindful of the impact her absence will have on the team’s performance.
It is unclear when Griner will return to the court, but the Mercury said that they will “continue to provide updates as they become available.”