Brittney Griner sets foot on U.S. soil after release from Russian prison

Brittney Griner says she intends to play basketball again next season

Brittney Griner said she’s “grateful” to be back in the United States and plans on playing basketball again next season for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury. Her comments came a week after she was released from a Russian prison, freed in a dramatic high-level prisoner exchange.

“It feels so good to be home!” Griner posted to Instagram on Friday in her first public statement since her release. “The last 10 months have been a battle at every turn. 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.”

READ MORE: Brittney Griner arrives home in U.S. after months of Russian imprisonment

Griner went on to say that she wanted to make it clear that, “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.”

The Mercury open the season on the road against the Los Angeles Sparks on May 19. The teams’ first home game is two days later against the Chicago Sky.

Griner has been staying in a hotel at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio since her return. She’s reunited with family members, including her wife Cherelle.