Brittney Griner with wife Cherelle.

Brittney Griner will be home for Christmas. Griner issued her first statement on Friday since being released from Russian custody last week. In it, she announced her return to the WNBA.

“I also want to make one thing very clear,” she wrote on Instagram. “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 originally selected Griner, then a product of the Baylor Bears women’s basketball program, with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2013 WNBA draft.

Griner, like many American WNBA superstars, went to Russia to ply her trades in search of the country’s higher wages. Griner pled guilty to charges of attempting to brign a small amount of medical hashish oil aboard a flight with her Russian Premier League team.

The Russian government originally sentenced Griner to nine years in a maximum-security penal colony for women 200 miles outside Moscow. President Joe Biden announced the controversial decision last week to free Griner in a prisoner swap with Russia for convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout.

Griner is currently relaxing with her wife Cherelle (seen at left above hugging her) on a military base outside San Antonio, Texas.

[Brittney Griner on Instagram]