Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury is seen during a game against the Indiana Fever at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum on September 6, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Michael Hickey | Getty Images
Basketball star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner has re-signed with the Phoenix Mercury to a one-year contract, NBC News has confirmed.
A statement officially announcing the signing is expected on Tuesday, according to a source close to Griner.
The athlete played for the Mercury her entire WNBA career, which began in 2013. According to WNBA.com, she missed the entire 2022 season while she was imprisoned in Russia for nearly 10 months.
Griner previously stated that he intends to play through the 2023 season, a move that puts any doubt on the team to rest.
Griner was freed from the Russian penal colony in December after the Biden administration negotiated her release in exchange for arms dealer Viktor Bout.
According to Russian authorities, she was arrested in February 2022 at a Moscow airport for allegedly flying into the country with canisters containing cannabis oil in her luggage. Griner pleaded guilty at her trial in July but said she had no criminal intent. The canisters she was prescribed to treat chronic pain were inadvertently packed while she was hastily getting ready for a flight, she said.
In her first comments after she was released in a prisoner exchangeGriner wrote on Instagram that being in Russian custody for nearly 10 months was an emotional struggle.
“I dug deep to keep my faith and it was the love from so many of you that kept me going” wrote Griner. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone for your help.”