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SANTA THORNTON: Panthers forward on the mend, brings charitable works to South Florida

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Forward Shawn Thornton has missed the past seven games with a troublesome groin injury he said has been affecting him since the start of the season.
"It's been there basically since the first game of the year and it's gotten progressively worse,'' Thornton said. "I was going to take some time off there but we were short bodies and I played through it. Once guys got healthy, it would have been selfish for me to try and play through it. It's time to get it healed for the playoff push.''
Thornton didn't travel with the Panthers on recent road trip and watched with envy as Saturday's game in Pittsburgh turned into a slugfest.
"I was on the couch with a beer and was not a happy camper,'' Thornton said. "My wife was like 'are you going to be OK?' And I wasn't. I wanted to be out there. But the last seven or so games I was out there, I felt useless.''
Thornton's foundation will host 18 families whose children are being treated at the Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital to a movie and Christmas party at a Hollywood multiplex on Wednesday morning.
Earlier this season, Thornton said this is an event he often looked forward to in Boston and hoped to bring it to South Florida.
"It was my wife's idea a few years ago to host kids from local hospitals to a movie on Christmas Eve,'' Thornton said last month.
"It's pretty cool. We buy presents for the kids and see a show. For the kids who are able to leave the hospital, it's a real break to their everyday grind. I feel what they're going through and it's nice to see them smiling and enjoying themselves.''