Mercury’s Brittney Griner expected to return after mental health break

Aug 4, 2023, 8:15 PM

Brittney Griner...

Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury listens to the national anthem before the game against the Seattle Storm at Climate Pledge Arena on June 24, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Phoenix Mercury All-Star Brittney Griner is expected to return to the court on Saturday after missing three games to focus on mental health, the team announced.

Griner was left off the injury report ahead of Saturday’s matchup against the Seattle Storm at Footprint Center.

The 6-foot-9 center did not travel with the team during its two-game trip to Chicago and Indiana, but she was in attendance Thursday night when Diana Taurasi eclipsed 10,000 career points in Phoenix.

The Mercury went 1-2 without Griner, winning their home game against the Atlanta Dream behind Taurasi’s 42-point performance.

Griner is Phoenix’s scoring leader, averaging 18.2 points with 6.7 rebounds in 20 games played this season. She returned to play this season following a 10-month detainment in Russia in 2022.

This campaign has had its challenges, as Griner and her teammates were confronted by a “provocateur” at the Dallas airport in June. The league said in a statement it was looking into the team’s run-in with a “social media figure” whose “actions were inappropriate and unfortunate.”

The team has since started flying charter. Griner has also dealt with a hip injury, while Phoenix went through a coaching change from Vanessa Nygaard to Nikki Blue in the midst of a 7-19 season thus far.

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