US basketball star Brittney Griner was seen smiling as she made returned to the court with her team Phoenix Mercury nearly one year after she was arrested at a Russian airport. Her team shared several photos of the 32-year-old athlete during a practice session. This comes just days after Ms Griner signed a one-year deal to stay in Phoenix. Ms Griner was arrested on drug smuggling charges last February after a small amount of cannabis oil was found in her luggage. Her detention became a major global issue, deemed wrongful imprisonment by US officials.
After her release and return to the US, Ms Griner has made a few public appearances, including at a Martin Luther King Day event last month. Her fans are eagerly waiting for Ms Griner to return to the court.
"There she is," Phoenix Mercury said on their Instagram account on Tuesday.
Ms Griner also made her presence felt with a line she wrote on the whiteboard in the team's locker room - a photo of which has also been posted by Phoenix on Instagram.
Brittney Griner helped the US women win the Olympic gold at Tokyo and Rio. She last played for the Mercury in 2021, when she helped Phoenix reach the WNBA Final, which was lost to Chicago.
Phoenix's season opener is set for May 19 at Los Angeles with the home debut two nights later against Chicago.
"I know none of us will ever forget what it will feel like to welcome her back onto her home floor on May 21," Mercury business operations president Vince Kozar said.