WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner sidelined at start of season due to fractured toe

The Phoenix Mercury’s All-Star center, Brittney Griner, will miss the beginning of the upcoming WNBA season due to a fractured toe on her left foot. The team announced her injury just one day before the start of the season and stated that she will be re-evaluated in the coming weeks. It remains unclear how or when Griner sustained the injury.

The Mercury are set to open their season against the reigning champion Las Vegas Aces in a nationally televised game on ESPN 2. Griner, who is 33 years old, is a multiple-time All-Star and is considered the best player on the Mercury roster. Last season, she led the team in points, rebounds, and blocks, averaging 17.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.6 blocks per game.

Griner made a remarkable comeback to the WNBA in 2023 after missing the entire 2022 season due to being imprisoned in Russia for 294 days. She was wrongfully detained and held as a political prisoner under Vladimir Putin’s regime after she was found with a vape cartridge containing 0.7 grams of hash oil with THC at a Russian airport.

Following her release, Griner returned to the league and managed to regain her All-Star form, earning her eighth All-Star bid. Despite Griner’s absence at the start of the season, the Mercury are entering the 2024 campaign with renewed hope after finishing with the league’s worst record of 9-31 last season.

The team underwent an offseason makeover, bringing in a new head coach in former Orlando Magic assistant Nate Tibbetts and a new general manager in former Golden State Warriors executive Nick U’Ren. They also made significant roster changes, acquiring three-time All-Star and 2021 Finals MVP Kahleah Copper from the Chicago Sky and signing free-agent point guard Natasha Cloud from the Washington Mystics.

These additions were meant to complement Griner and former league MVP Diana Taurasi, but Griner’s injury is a significant setback for the team as they look to turn things around this season. Despite the challenges ahead, the Mercury remain optimistic about their chances for a successful season.

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