Brooke Army Medical Center is now San Antonio Military Medical Center.
After a week of treatment at Brooke Army Medical Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston following 294 days in detention in Russia, pro basketball player Brittney Griner has left San Antonio. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

Pro basketball player Brittney Griner left San Antonio on Friday after being treated at Brooke Army Medical Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston. 

The WNBA player, who arrived in the city Dec. 8 for medical evaluations following 294 days in detention in Russia, thanked San Antonio military medical staff in an Instagram post

“As I transition home to enjoy the holidays with my family, I want to acknowledge and thank the entire [post-isolation support activity] staff and medical team at the San Antonio Fort Sam Houston Base,” wrote Griner. “I appreciate the time and care to make sure I was okay and equipped with the tools for this new journey.”

According to CNN, Griner underwent a routine medical evaluation at Brooke Army Medical Center for a week. She has been staying with her wife, Cherelle Griner, in a residential facility at Fort Sam. 

“It feels so good to be home,” wrote Griner in the Instagram post. “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.”

CNN reported that Griner flew from San Antonio to Arizona, where she has a home.

Griner had been detained for nearly 10 months, most recently in a Russian penal colony, after she was arrested in a Moscow airport in February, when airport officials reportedly discovered vape cartridges filled with cannabis oil in her luggage. She was sentenced to nine years imprisonment for smuggling illegal drugs into the country despite U.S. efforts to win her freedom.

Griner pleaded guilty to the charges in September and apologized for the incident, calling it an “honest mistake.” Earlier this month, Griner was returned to the U.S. in a prisoner exchange for convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

In her post, Griner thanked people who advocated for her release and said she will use her platform to do what she can to help bring home other Americans detained in Russia.

“I also encourage everyone that played a part in bringing me home to continue their efforts to bring all Americans home. Every family deserves to be whole,” she wrote. 

Griner, who has won two Olympic gold medals with the U.S. women’s team, also announced she intends to continue playing for the Phoenix Mercury this season, which begins May 19

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Raquel Torres

Raquel Torres is the San Antonio Report's breaking news reporter. She previously worked at the Tyler Morning Telegraph and is a 2020 graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University.