Bruce said: "Lee Cattermole is another one who has been in and out and had two or three serious injuries.
"I am a big believer - and I have been in it a long, long time - that you don't really get that back until you have been back as long as you have been out.
"It's normal. It's because they have had serious injuries which take them time [to get over]. The more they train and they play, they get better and better.
"They need games, and Lee certainly comes into that category.
"Nobody epitomises what I like about a footballer more than my captain, but at the moment, it's not going too well for him, so we gave somebody else a go in David Vaughan.
"He brought that little bit of composure we were looking for and had a wonderful debut."