The Black Cats boss had been intending to keep his powder dry, with long-term targets such as Charles N'- Zogbia and Adam Johnson unlikely to be available.
However, with David Meyler and Danny Welbeck having become the latest players to join the list of Sunderland's walking wounded on Wednesday, Bruce is having to rethink his plans.
Midfield is a particular problem, with Lee Cattermole set to be out for a further three weeks and Bolo Zenden suspended for tomorrow's FA Cup third-round tie with Notts County.
With that in mind, Bruce yesterday recalled Jack Colback from his loan spell at Ipswich, and the Killingworthborn 21-year-old will go straight into the squad for tomorrow's game.
Attack is also an issue given the niggling problems that have affected both Asamoah Gyan and Darren Bent this season.
Gyan was due to return to his native Ghana this week for a period of rest, but the trip has been cancelled to enable the striker to play in tomorrow's FA Cup tie.
A month ago, I was sitting thinking, What a really good squad of players I've got',
Everybody was fit and we were on a good run, but within a month we've lost Michael Turner to a serious injury, Cattermole to a fairly longterm one, Nedum Onuoha and Titus Bramble to problems and now Meyler and Welbeck have gone down as well.
I've lost far too many of my big players and that's a problem.
We've got ourselves into a great position, but we're only halfway through the season and we're down to the bare bones.
I don't really know if it's going to change my thinking for January, because I haven't really been doing any work on it up to this stage. I thought that if I did anything in January, the players I wanted to get wouldn't be available.
But we might have to bring one or two bodies in now if there are some floating around.
Sunderland should discover the results of Welbeck's scans this morning, but if the Manchester United loanee has torn his hamstring, he will be sidelined for at least a month.
Meyler will not play again this season if, as suspected, he has ruptured his cruciate knee ligaments for the second time in eight months, and Bramble admits the squad is being pushed to its limits.
We picked up a few injuries at Villa and are really stretched, said the defender, who has taken over the captain's armband from the injured Cattermole. It was an excellent win, but it came at a cost.
We already had a few out, so to get even more is harsh. I don't know what sort of state we will be in the for the cup game and the derby (against Newcastle on January 16), but we'll just have to get on with it.
It was horrible to see what happened to David out on the pitch, but hopefully the scan will show it's not as serious as we feared.
It affected the players and I think Villa had their best spell just before half-time after he had been taken off as it was a distraction.
Defensive duo Michael Kay and Michael Liddle have both sealed month-long loan deals.
Kay has joined League One side Tranmere Rovers, while Liddle has gone to Blue Square Bet Premier Gateshead.