Brittney Griner is returning to the Phoenix Mercury.
The lesbian basketball star, who was detained in Russia for 10 months, had been a free agent. A source told the Associated Press on Saturday that Griner, 32, had signed a one-year contract with the team. She appeared on the team’s online roster on Saturday.
The basketball site Her Hoops Stats first reported the news.
Back in December, Griner posted on social media she intended to play again with the team after she was subjected to what the U.S. government called a wrongful detainment in a Russian penal colony.
“It feels so good to be home! The last 10 months have been a battle at every turn,” Griner previously wrote in post on Instagram. “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.”
She added: “I also want to make one thing very clear: I intend to play basketball for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury this season, 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.”
Russian authorities arrested the Olympic gold medalist at an airport outside Moscow in February 2022 for carrying small amounts of cannabis oil. A Russian court originally sentenced her to 9 years in a penal colony until she was freed in a prisoner exchange in December.
Griner had been in Russia to play for a local team during the WNBA's offseason.
Griner helped the Mercury reach the WNBA finals back in 2021, averaging 20.5 points and 9.5 rebounds.
The Advocate has reached out to the Phoenix Mercury and Griner for comment.
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