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Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner will be out indefinitely due to a fractured toe on her left foot, the team announced on Monday. That means Griner will miss opening night of the 2024 WNBA season, when the Mercury are scheduled to meet the defending champion Las Vegas Aces. Per the team, Griner will be re-evaluated in the coming weeks. 

Griner was injured at some point between the team's two preseason games during training camp, though the exact timing is unclear. 

She played 14 minutes and finished with five points, four rebounds and two blocks against the Seattle Storm on May 7, but that game was not televised. Ahead of the Mercury's final tune-up game versus the Los Angeles Sparks on May 10, the team announced she was out with a toe injury. Although there was not much initial concern, that changed when Griner showed up to that game in a walking boot and riding a scooter. 

Griner made an emotional return to the court last season after she missed all of 2022 while she was wrongfully detained in Russia on drug charges. While the season did not go well for the Mercury, it was encouraging that Griner largely looked like her usual self. She averaged 17.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks on 56.0% shooting over 31 games en route to a starting spot in the All-Star Game. 

As expected, she re-signed with the Mercury in free agency this winter. In fact, her signing ended up being the final move of an exciting offseason for the organization, which hired Nate Tibbetts as its new head coach, added Kristi Toliver to his coaching staff, traded for Kahleah Copper and Rebecca Allen and signed Natasha Cloud.

After one of the worst seasons in franchise history last year, in which they won just nine games, finished in last place and saw their 10-season playoff streak come to an end, the Mercury knew they had to re-tool for what could be Diana Taurasi's farewell campaign. 

They did just that, and had high expectations coming into the season. The new additions were a big part of that, but so was Griner, who was able to enjoy a normal and healthy offseason at home with her family. This setback is an unfortunate start to summer for her and the franchise.