Shia LaBeouf was strangely absent from the official press conference for "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," but he certainly came up in conversation.  It's public knowledge that LaBeouf injured his hand in a car accident last year in the middle of shooting the highly anticipated sequel, but how it really affected the production hasn't been revealed until now. 

Speaking about the incident, director Michael Bay said he found out about it randomly by checking out CNN.com and initially thought it couldn't be true.  After talking to line producer Ian Bryce, who immediately wanted to halt production, Bay realized how serious the situation was, but decided to do everything possible to keep things moving.

Bay recalls, "When you have a train going it's so expensive to shut a picture like this down.  We had an action scene in the library on Monday and I said, 'Let's go for it, let's just not stop.  Let's use Blad his stuntman and try to cover as much stuff as we can.' And then on Tuesday we shut down. We had to mix and match and pulling from different scenes without him. We didn't know how long he was going to be down."

The filmmaker also immediately recruited some of the "best people in the world" to make LaBeouf a special cast with kevlar fingers, so thin that you could photograph it, but safe enough to protect his fingers.  It seems that the injury was so severe, if LaBeouf had jammed his hand in a stunt he could have lost his fingers forever.

As for the movie, Bay says, "We were very lucky because we had shot a lot of the beginning of the movie and we were really at a turning point where we could really kind of [incorporate it into the story]."

Still, Bay admits the passionate actor didn't make things easy.

"We would have arguments," Bay says. "He would take his cast off and I would go, 'Put your cast back on.'  We were trying to protect his hand."

LaBeouf's co-star Megan Fox was impressed with LaBeouf's bravery in continuing to work in his fragile state.

"Everyone is very lucky for Shia's level of commitment for this movie," Fox says. "He showed up with his injury and acted like he didn't have an injury and went balls to the wall and committed and did things that were not safe for him to do, but he wanted this movie to be as real as possible. So, I think that helped everyone around him a lot."

LaBeouf has not shot a feature film since "Revenge of the Fallen," but recently signed on to Oliver Stone's "Wall Street 2" which is going to shoot this August.

"Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" opens nationwide and on IMAX on Wednesday.