US says basketball star Brittney  Griner 'in good condition' in Russian detention
Brittney Griner of the United States in action with Sandrine Gruda of France at Saitama Super Arena during their Tokyo 2020 Olympic women's basketball Group B game in Saitama, Japan August 2, 2021. © Sergio Perez, Reuters

A US diplomat was able to visit detained basketball star Brittney Griner who was found to be in "good condition" after more than a month in Russian custody, the State Department said Wednesday.

Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and WNBA champion, was detained at Moscow's airport on February 17 on charges of carrying vape cartridges that contained cannabis oil in her luggage.

"An official from our embassy has been granted consular access to Brittney Griner. We were able to check on her condition," State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

"Our official found Brittney Griner to be in good condition and we will continue to do everything we can to see to it that she is treated fairly throughout this ordeal," he added.

Griner was in Russia to play club basketball before the US season resumed, a common practice for American players, who can earn much higher salaries in foreign leagues than on domestic teams.

After being apprehended, Griner was immediately placed in a detention center, and last week a Russian court extended her arrest until May 19. She faces up to 10 years in prison.

The 31-year-old openly gay basketball star is one of few women who can "dunk" a ball and considered one of the best players in the world.

The arrest came as relations between Moscow and the West hit rock bottom over Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Washington fears the player will be used as a pawn in the dispute and has so far kept a low profile in her case.

Last week Russian state news agency TASS said Griner shared her cell with two other people. She is reading Dostoyevsky and a biography of the members of the Rolling Stones, it said.