The Magpies’ boss shared that the former Scotland international is still waiting to be given the green light to return from the ankle injury he picked up against Leicester City in the Carabao Cup second round in August.
Bruce revealed that Ritchie is not nearing a return to the first team and has been advised to give himself further resting time before being declared fully fit.
“Unfortunately he is not near fitness at the moment,” he confirmed, as quoted by the Chronicle.
“He saw a specialist last week and he said to give him another rest and see if that does it.”
Ritchie is now set for more rest to recover from the operation, despite pushing in training to return to action in the Premier League.
It is hard to suggest that Ritchie has been a massive miss at St James’ Park since he picked up the injury against Leicester, with Jetro Willems having stepped up perfectly at left-wing back under Bruce. Ritchie had cemented that spot in the side before his injury with his ability to push forward but also put in a crunching tackle making him perfect for that position. It will have been his presence that has been missed in training and on matchday, with the 30-year-old a huge personality and a captain-like figure with his experience in English football. Bruce will be wanting the versatile Magpies’ star to return as soon as possible but the feedback from the specialist has brought him back down to earth and made him realise that without the rest, it could be a lot worse than it actually is. Newcastle are currently coping without Ritchie so they must be smart to give him the time he needs before throwing him into the deep end.