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Brittney Griner still ‘getting up to speed’ ahead of WNBA season

Brittney Griner was detained in Russia for nearly 10 months last year, which could introduce security concerns for the star in 2023. (Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

Brittney Griner is still getting back into the swing of things.

The Phoenix Mercury center did not travel for Monday’s preseason opener at Seattle, but head coach Vanessa Nygaard said that was part of the team’s plan to have her ready for the regular season.

“Just part of preparation for the season, getting her up to speed,” Nygaard said. “She’d been off for a long time.”

Griner made her return to practice on the team’s first day of training camp, which she cheered as “everything I wanted it to be.” Still, the 32-year-old spent nearly 300 days detained in Russia in 2022, and she just made her return to U.S. soil in December.

Whether Griner will be available for Friday’s home preseason game remains up in the air.

“We’ll see how she’s doing,” Nygaard said. “She’s making great progress. Obviously has had a long time off but I know she’s excited to get back on the court and has been working really, really hard so we’ll see.”

The team created a 100-day plan for Griner leading up to the start of training camp, and while she was “super diligent” in sticking to the schedule, she still has some work to do.

“I feel like I’m at a good spot to start a training camp though for sure,” Griner said after the first day of training camp. “I mean I didn’t fall out, they didn’t have to get a stretcher or oxygen or anything, so I guess I’m doing pretty good.”