On Monday, the 31-year-old WNBA star's lawyer, Maria Blagovolina, confirmed to PEOPLE that they have appealed the verdict sentencing her to nine years in a Russian penal colony, issued on Aug. 4.
Blagovolina had previously told PEOPLE that they don't know if the appeal will be successful, but said that they have to try.
"We need to use every legal opportunity that we have, and appeal is one of these opportunities," Blagovolina said.
The process will also take several months, Griner's other lawyer, Alexander Boykov, said. "It's not very fast."
NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP via Getty
As they begin the appeal process, there is also hope that Griner could come home sooner through a prisoner exchange. An official in the Biden administration previously confirmed to PEOPLE that the Biden administration had "made a substantial proposal to bring Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan [another American imprisoned in Russia] home weeks ago."
According to CNN, the U.S. offered to trade 31-year-old Griner and Whelan for convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. The outlet said Russian officials also requested that the U.S. include convicted murderer and former Russian spy Vadim Krasikov in the package.
EVGENIA NOVOZHENINA/POOL/AFP via Getty Brittney Griner holds up a photo of her teammates while in court
According to the Associated Press, a senior Russian diplomat also confirmed Sunday that exchange talks are underway.
"This quite sensitive issue of the swap of convicted Russian and U.S. citizens is being discussed through the channels defined by our presidents," Alexander Darchiev, head of the Foreign Ministry's North America department, told state news agency Tass, per the AP.
"These individuals are, indeed, being discussed. The Russian side has long been seeking the release of Viktor Bout. The details should be left to professionals, proceeding from the 'do not harm' principle,' " he added.
EVGENIA NOVOZHENINA/POOL/AFP via Getty Brittney Griner shakes hands with her lawyer Alexander Boykov
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For now, the two-time Olympic gold medalist doesn't know if she'll be exchanged, if the appeal will be successful, or if she'll live out her next nine years in a Russian penal colony.
When Griner heard about the potential exchange, she was "quite happy to know that she's not been forgotten and that there are some possible developments," her lawyer, Maria Blagovolina, previously told PEOPLE. "But she's quite realistic about what's going on."