The 21-year-old was ruled out for at least three months after suffering medial ligament damage during the 1-0 Barclays Premier League victory over Liverpool on October 17. However, having worked with Cattermole at Wigan last season, Bruce has a gut feeling that the Stockton-born enforcer, in whom he invested £6million this summer, might be ready sooner.
He told the Sunderland Echo: "Catts has been out for three weeks already, but after the Spurs game this weekend, there is another fortnight before we play Arsenal and all of a sudden, he has been out for getting on towards five or six weeks. And Cattermole being Cattermole, I would think he will be back more quickly than the doctors have predicted."
He added: "The kind of person he is, I have just got this gut feeling that he might be out for eight weeks rather than the 12 weeks that was said at the start.
"Of course, ultimately I will have to be governed by what the medical people say, but knowing Lee's mentality, he will be keen to get back as quickly as possible.
"For instance, already he can't wait to get the brace off his knee and it won't be long now before that does come off."