The Bruins lost 3-2 to the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday -- just their second defeat in 11 games (8-2-1-0).
"Everybody has to adjust with Joe out of the lineup," said Mike Knuble, who scored a goal. "He is a big crutch that our team leans on and everybody has to contribute to replace a point-per-game player."
Thornton, who leads the team with 33 assists and 44 points, underwent successful surgery on Thursday to stabilize the cheekbone and is listed as day-to-day.
"He had his procedure and they stabilized the cheekbone," said coach Mike Sullivan. "He's recovering and he feels OK.
"He'll be in here tomorrow to see our trainers. Then it will be a day-to-day thing. When Joe feels comfortable to play, he will play."
Mike Knuble also scored on Thursday for the Bruins.
The Panthers are coming off Friday's 4-1 win over the Washington Capitals -- their third straight loss (0-2-0-1).