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.
"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.