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Mercury’s Brittney Griner to miss two-game trip for mental health

(Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images)

Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner will miss the next two games to focus on her mental health, the team announced Saturday.

As a result, Griner will not travel with the team on their two-game trip to Chicago and Indiana.

“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 team said in a statement. “The Mercury fully support Brittney and we will continue to work together on a timeline for her return.”

Griner has appeared in 20 of 23 games for Phoenix, averaging 18.2 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. She leads the team in each of those categories, and earned a ninth All-Star selection last month.

But it hasn’t been the easiest season for Griner, who returned last December to the U.S. after being detained in Russia. Her high-profile detainment lasted nearly 10 months, and in June became a bigger part of the story when Griner and the Mercury were harassed in a Dallas airport while traveling for a game.

The WNBA has said that it has a safety plan for Griner that includes “charter flights for WNBA games and assigned security personnel with her at all times,” but the exception does not apply to her Phoenix teammates.

While Griner will miss the road trip with the Mercury, guard Diana Taurasi is off of the team’s injury report. She had been sidelined with a quad contusion and left big toe injury.