Jun 6, 2011 9:55 AM by Lauren Wilson & AP

Surgery helps Beard plan for future

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) - A season away from basketball, due to ankle surgery, has given Alana Beard a chance to think about life after basketball.
The Shreveport player and former Duke star, now with the WNBA Washington Mystics, had time to make sure the her Alana Beard Foundation was getting its work done and she also spent three months in San Francisco interning with the CEO of Jamba Juice. Beard tells The Shreveport Times she is looking at becoming a multiple franchisee for the company, which makes high-end smoothies - a secret desire she's harbored since her sophomore season at Duke.
"One of my motivations is to one day be able to tell my parents (LeRoy and Marie Beard) that they'll never have to work again," Beard said. "My parents are some of the hardest working people I know. Obviously, that's where I got my work ethic from. They never took off because they always felt they needed to provide for the family."
Beard's life was all basketball until she turned an ankle one too many times last April in a practice with her coaches and was forced to undergo what could have been a career-ending operation.
"When the doctor walked in with my diagnosis, he said `this is bad ... this is very bad,' and `you may never play again,"' Beard said. "I didn't think about never playing again. I said `you're wrong' in my mind."
Beard had the surgery on her posterior tibial tendon then sat on the sidelines as her Mystics, behind guards Katie Smith and Lindsey Harding, had their best season by winning the WNBA's Eastern Conference regular season title.
Although Beard has gone through more than a year of intense workouts, she still isn't at full strength. She realizes her reaction time is still a step slower than it should be.
"I've been away so long, and, let me tell you, it's a process. It is difficult, because you know where you were when you left off. Being a competitor, I want to give it my all every single time. Unfortunately, I can't," she said. "Sometimes my mind says do this and my body says no you can't."


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