Why Is Brittney Griner Not Playing Against Indiana Fever Tonight?


Phoenix Mercury Announce Brittney Griner Will Miss 2 Games

Brittney Griner at the Met Gala
Carl Timpone/BFA.com/Shutterstock

Brittney Griner is sitting out the Phoenix Mercury’s game against the Indiana Fever on Tuesday, August 1.

The Phoenix Mercury shared a health update ahead of the game via Twitter, noting that Griner, 32, is “not with the team” on Tuesday evening due to her “mental health.” Griner was also absent from the Mercury’s showdown against the Chicago Sky on Sunday, July 30.

One day prior, the Phoenix Mercury shared a statement via Twitter announcing that Griner would not play in the two games.

“Mercury center Brittney Griner will not travel with the team on its upcoming two-game road trip to Chicago and Indiana (July 30-August 1) to focus on her mental health,” the Saturday, July 29, statement read. “The Mercury fully support Brittney and we will continue to work together on a timeline for her return.”

In February 2022, Griner was detained in Russia after a drug-sniffing dog allegedly found hashish oil in her luggage. She was then held in a Russian prison for months until she finally returned home in that December — 10 months later.

“After months of being unjustly detained in Russia, held under intolerable circumstances, Brittney will soon be back in the arms of her loved ones and she should have been there all along,” President Joe Biden said in a press conference at the time, alongside Britney’s wife, Cherelle Griner, and Vice President Kamala Harris.

Brittney, for her part, broke her silence soon after. “It feels so good to be home,” she wrote via social media at the time. “The last 10 months have been a battle at every turn. I dug deep to keep my faith and it was the love from so many of you that helped keep me going. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone for your help.”

Despite her harrowing experience, Brittany was adamant that she would play with her team upon returning home.

“I also want to make one thing very clear: I intend to play basketball for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury this season,” she said. “And in doing so, I look forward to being able to say ‘thank you’ to those of you who advocated, wrote, and posted for me in person soon.”

Five months after her homecoming, Brittney and Cherelle — who have been married since 2019 — attended the 2023 Met Gala together, color-coordinating in neutral tones. Both wore Calvin Klein.

Brittney has also played with the Mercury throughout the 2023 season, which began in May. On June 25, she was named WNBA All-Star Starter.


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