What an injured hand and a damaged image means for the ''Transformers'' star's upcoming roles

Shia LaBeouf now has a second summer hit under his belt, but he’s probably not bragging about it. The 22-year-old Indiana Jones star is recovering from a July 27 car wreck in L.A. that did serious damage to the actor’s left hand, requiring ”extensive surgery” that quickly halted his current stint filming Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. If that wasn’t enough of a problem, the actor — who police say was most likely not at fault — was cited on the scene for misdemeanor drunken driving.

”He’s feeling awful about what happened,” reports filmmaker D.J. Caruso, who directed LaBeouf in his 2007 breakout Disturbia and in the September thriller Eagle Eye. ”But at the same time he’s feeling blessed because it could’ve been so much worse.” No kidding: LaBeouf was driving home from a buddy’s concert around 2:30 a.m. when a driver allegedly ran a red light and slammed into his Ford truck, causing it to flip. But the motorist and LaBeouf’s passenger — Transformers 2 costar Isabel Lucas — only sustained minor injuries, and Lucas was on set the next day. LaBeouf, on the other hand, could be out of commission for up to a month, though a source says it isn’t likely to slow down the production: ”It’s inconvenient, but they’re reworking the schedule. There’s plenty of scenes to shoot without him.”

LaBeouf’s hand will heal, of course, but what about his career? This isn’t his first tangle with the law, and last year he talked to EW about the temptations young stars face. ”It could all go away tomorrow…if I’m drinking like an a–hole,” said LaBeouf. ”There’s no way you have Tom Hanks’ career and not think about that stuff.” Lucky for him, Hollywood can be awfully forgiving when you’re talented and bankable. ”He’s too good,” says a top producer. ”He’ll get a strike two and a strike three. But he won’t get a strike four.” Case in point: According to Caruso, ”I have another project with him over at Warner Bros., and the first call was like, ‘Is he okay? Because we’d like to start that in the fall.”’ — with additional reporting by Christine Spines


A rundown of LaBeouf’s previous run-ins:

FEB 2005
Arrested in L.A., after an altercation in which he allegedly threatened a neighbor with a knife. Charges were never filed.

NOV 2007
Apprehended for trespassing after he allegedly refused to leave a Chicago Walgreens. Charges later dropped.

FEB 2008
Ticketed for puffing a cigarette on a Burbank, Calif., street where smoking is illegal. Charges later dropped.