Brittney Griner, the defensive heart of the Phoenix Mercury, will make her highly anticipated return Saturday against Seattle.
It looks like the Phoenix Mercury, who seemed to be in free fall just a week ago and in danger of missing the WNBA playoffs, are back in control. They won a huge game against the Dallas Wings in an overtime thriller, 101-100, behind a monster performance from forward Monique Currie. She scored 29 points and had a clutch 3-pointer in overtime to help Phoenix get to 14-12 on the season and put them firmly in control of their own destiny.
And now, it looks like the Mercury are about to get back the heart and soul of the franchise.
Griner has been riding the bench since before the All-Star break when she suffered both a sprained ankle and a bone bruise in her left knee. Griner was having an MVP season before the injury, averaging 22.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game. She led the WNBA in both scoring and blocks and is shooting an amazing 57.7 percent from the field.
While she was out, Phoenix went 2-5 and at times looked lost. While Currie and guard Diana Taurasi managed to make up some of her scoring, defensively the team suffered and the result was a number of fourth quarter meltdowns that cost them wins.
While no one was 100 percent sure when Griner would return, fans knew it would be soon after the Mercury released the following video on their social media.
Get ready. pic.twitter.com/rmNxNR83Oj
— Phoenix Mercury (@PhoenixMercury) August 9, 2017
The Mercury could not have picked a better game for Griner to make her comeback. Seattle goes into Saturday’s game with a new head coach after the dismissal of head coach Jenny Boucek and one goal: to make the playoffs. You can be sure the Storm will leave everything on the court and it should make for a classic battle between Griner and Seattle’s Breanna Stewart.
Word is that Griner may be on a minutes restriction at least to start. Despite that, just having Griner back should be enough to lift the Mercury and give them a win against the struggling Storm. Plus, that would mean that Griner should have any rust that may have gathered because of her injuries shaken off by the time the playoffs start.
And who knows? They are only one game behind the injury ravaged Washington Mystics and if things break their way, they could be looking at a first round bye.
More WNBA: Storm Fire Head Coach Jenny Boucek
Yes, any chance of Griner winning the WNBA MVP may be gone, but with her back in the lineup, the Phoenix Mercury have a very real chance of playing spoiler and possibly winning it all.
And you can be sure Brittney Griner would much rather be a WNBA champion than MVP any day.
Phoenix plays Seattle Saturday, August 12 at 10 PM EST. The game can be seen on WNBA League Pass.