Brittney Griner absent from USA camp, but keeping in touch

February 8, 2023 GMT
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FILE - Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi, left, high-fives teammate Brittney Griner during the first half of a WNBA basketball game against the Chicago Sky, on July 2, 2014, in Phoenix. Griner texted her good friend Diana Taurasi on Tuesday morning, Feb. 7, 2023, asking how the USA Basketball training camp was going. Griner was back in Arizona, choosing to skip the camp in Minnesota so she can be with her wife and recover from her time in a Russian jail. She returned to the U.S. in December after a dramatic prisoner swap. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)
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FILE - Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi, left, high-fives teammate Brittney Griner during the first half of a WNBA basketball game against the Chicago Sky, on July 2, 2014, in Phoenix. Griner texted her good friend Diana Taurasi on Tuesday morning, Feb. 7, 2023, asking how the USA Basketball training camp was going. Griner was back in Arizona, choosing to skip the camp in Minnesota so she can be with her wife and recover from her time in a Russian jail. She returned to the U.S. in December after a dramatic prisoner swap. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

Brittney Griner texted her good friend Diana Taurasi on Tuesday asking how the USA Basketball training camp was going.

Griner was back in Arizona, choosing to skip the camp in Minnesota so she can be with her wife and recover from her time in a Russian jail. She returned to the U.S. in December after a dramatic prisoner swap.

“She wants to be a part of this like no one else,” Taurasi said. “So, she’ll get there eventually. She’ll find her footing.”

Taurasi said the two talk regularly now that Griner is home in Phoenix. They work out together as well as chat and text each other often.

“We’ve been on the court together working out. We’ve sat down and talked for hours,” Taurasi said. “It’s been really nice to reconnect. It’s good to see her smile. Good to give her a hug. Know she was alive and still had the ability to be thankful and happy.”

There was a time during Griner’s 10-month ordeal in Russia that the 40-year-old Taurasi wasn’t sure she’d ever see her friend again.

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“Every single day we suffered and hoped she’d be back and not until I saw her did I really believe it. And just to see her smile, just to see her free, was really emotional for everyone,” Taurasi said. “And we knew, at the same time, the minute she got into that plane and we got to Phoenix, there was going to be a whole new set of challenges, a whole new reality, a whole new way of living life for BG.”

Griner has said she’ll play for Phoenix again this season, although she’s still an unsigned free agent. She hasn’t talked about her international future and potentially playing for the U.S. at the Olympics next year in Paris. She has helped the U.S. win two gold medals at the Olympics already.

USA Basketball coach Cheryl Reeve said Monday that she hasn’t talked to Griner yet, but the organization made it clear that she could take all the time she needed to decide if she wanted to play for the U.S. again.

“We’ve missed her and when she’s ready we’ll welcome her back,” Reeve said.

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