WNBA playoffs: Brittney Griner returns for second half with brace after knee injury

Cassandra NegleyYahoo Sports Contributor
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/wnba/teams/pho" data-ylk="slk:Phoenix Mercury">Phoenix Mercury</a> center <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/wnba/players/5057/" data-ylk="slk:Brittney Griner">Brittney Griner</a> left with a knee injury against the <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/wnba/teams/chi" data-ylk="slk:Chicago Sky">Chicago Sky</a>. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner left with a knee injury against the Chicago Sky. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner was helped off the court in the second quarter of the team’s first-round playoff game at the Chicago Sky on Wednesday.

Griner got caught up with Allie Quigley, catching her left knee and immediately crumpling to the court. She was attended to and had to be helped back to the locker room minutes into the quarter with her team down four points.

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She had 6 points (3 for 6) with three rebounds and a block in 12 minutes.

UPDATE (9:09 ET): Griner returned for the second half with a brace on her knee. ESPN sideline reporter Holly Rowe said Griner told her she was “going to go out and see what I can do.” The Mercury trailed, 44-41, at the half.

The veteran didn’t look herself in the quarter’s first few minutes as the Sky went on a streak.

Griner led the league in scoring with an average 20.7 points per game. If not for Washington Mystics’ star Elena Delle Donne’s record-setting year, Griner would be a favorite for the MVP award.

The Mercury trailed, 22-18, and are already without Diana Taurasi. Taurasi missed most of the season due to back and hamstring issues. She played six games and did not suit up for the single-elimination game.

The No. 5 Sky controlled the temp in the first quarter, but didn’t pull away and allowed the No. 8 seeded Mercury a shot. Without the second of their three-headed attack — DeWanna Bonner was fifth in league scoring — it will be even more difficult for Phoenix to make it to the second round.

The Mercury entered the postseason having won all six of their single-elimination games over the past two years.

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