The 22-year-old midfielder has not played since the 2-0 home defeat by Blackpool on December 28 because of a back problem which required complete rest.
Specialists warned Cattermole that the injury could develop into a stress fracture if he did not sit out and, having already seen his captain miss a significant proportion of his time on Wearside because of fitness concerns, Bruce acted on that advice.
Comeback trail: Sunderland captain Lee Cattermole has returned to training
However, the ?6million signing from Wigan has now resumed light training and is expected to step up his work over the next few days to hand his manager a boost in the face of continuing injury problems.
Bruce said: 'He's training and we hope by the middle of this week that he's joining in.
'He's out there training and physically working - but he has been out 10 weeks as well now.
'It doesn't get any better, week in, week out, to be honest.'
As Cattermole prepared to return to full training, keeper Craig Gordon was heading for Sweden to consult a specialist over his knee injury.
The 28-year-old Scotland international was an unused substitute for Saturday's 0-0 Barclays Premier League draw at Arsenal, the second successive game for which he has provided the back-up to Belgian Simon Mignolet.
Treatment: Crocked goalkeeper Craig Gordon is in Scandinavia
However, Bruce revealed on Thursday that Gordon would be in Scandinavia to try to get to the bottom of the problem which forced him to return early from international duty last month.
Meanwhile, having seen Danny Welbeck return to action after a knee injury as a substitute at the Emirates Stadium, the manager is hoping Fraizer Campbell can soon follow suit, while central defender Michael Turner has been told to work on building up his thigh muscles to aid his recovery from a knee problem.
Bruce said: 'He [Turner] saw a specialist last Monday and he has got to now prepare his thigh muscles - they have got to be bigger and stronger for the condition he is in before the specialist will give him the go-ahead.
'For the next two or three weeks, his remit is to make sure he gets his thigh muscles as strong as he possibly can, and that might stop the irritation he is feeling in his knee at the moment.'
Turner was injured when he collided with a post during Sunderland's 2-2 draw with Everton on November 22.
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Explore more:People: Michael Turner, Steve Bruce, Craig Gordon, Danny Welbeck, Lee Cattermole Places: Scotland, Scandinavia