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Brittney Griner plays basketball for the first time since being released from Russian prison

As a WNBA star Brittney Griner recovering at a military base in San Antonio, Texas, his agent says he played basketball for the first time since his release from a Russian prison.

Griner arrived on the field at Fort Sam in Houston, where he is undergoing medical evaluations and spending time with his family. His first move was a dunk, ESPN reports.

Griner, who played in Russia during the WNBA offseason, returned to the United States on Friday morning after a prisoner exchange with Russia.

Roger Carstens, the Biden administration’s chief hostage negotiator, said CNN Sunday that Griner “probably spent 12 hours talking” on the flight home.

Brittney Griner flies home with negotiator Roger Carstens and other people who helped her free herself from Russia.

US Department of State

“She spoke at length about what it was like to go through that 10-month ordeal,” Carstens said, declining to go into further detail.

Griner’s father, Raymond, told CBS News he spent the day with his daughter on Saturday and said Griner broke down and they held each other for five minutes or more.

“I felt like 500 pounds had been lifted off my shoulders,” Raymond Griner said. “This was the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced in my life.”

On Monday, White House officials held a strategy session as they tried to secure the release of Paul Whelan, who has been jailed in Russia four times as long as Griner.

“We think there are plays that we can continue to try to execute, things that we have put in place and are still working on that could lead to a positive outcome here,” said Jake Sullivan, President Biden’s national security adviser.

The White House continues to defend its decision to trade Griner for a notorious arms dealer Victor’s fight. Former President Donald Trump claimed in a Truth Social post that he “rejected a deal with Russia” to trade Bout for Whelan because Bout “has killed untold numbers of people with his arms deals.”

But Russia expert and former Trump aide Fiona Hill said there is another reason Trump never secured Whelan’s release.

“He wasn’t particularly interested in Paul’s case in the way you would have thought he would be.” Hill told “Face the Nation” on Sunday.

Sarah Barth contributed reporting.

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