ENGLEWOOD—The Denver Broncos are hoping Trevor Siemian's shoulder injury will be healed enough to start Thursday against the San Diego Chargers.

It’s not a certainty because Siemian’s injured left shoulder still requires some mending. But he was close to playing Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons before Broncos coach Gary Kubiak and the medical team decided Saturday it was best to give Siemian a few extra days.

Siemian did take some first-team reps Friday and he thought he would play against the Falcons until Kubiak told him Saturday morning to stand down.

The Broncos instead started rookie Paxton Lynch, who did get a full week of first-team reps before he started his first NFL game. There were times when it appeared Lynch – who played a no-huddle, shotgun offense during his three seasons at Memphis and is transitioning to Kubiak’s huddle-up/under center system -- was unaccustomed to an NFL pass rush Sunday. He took six sacks with some of the blame going to the offensive line and some on Lynch for holding the ball too long or not looking downfield to throw as he attempted to avoid pressure.

However, Lynch finished strong against the Falcons’ prevent defense, completing 17 of his final 21 passes for 132 yards and a touchdown.

Some of the thinking that may have gone into the quarterback decision was if Siemian had played Sunday against Atlanta, it would have been difficult for him to bounce back and play on three days’ rest for the Broncos’ first AFC West divisional game Thursday at San Diego.

But after the Broncos’ play the Chargers, Siemian and the Broncos would have 11 days for rest, recovery and preparation before their next game, Monday, Oct. 24 against Houston. Besides Siemian, the Broncos are also hopeful right tackle Donald Stephenson and tight end Virgil Green could return from their calf injuries and play against San Diego.

The Broncos are 4-0 in Siemian’s four starts. He ranks in the top 10 among NFL passers with a 99.6 rating that is based off six touchdown passes, three interceptions, a 67.2 completion percentage and 8.2 yards per attempt.

Siemian has a sprained AC joint in his non-throwing shoulder, an injury suffered while getting sacked by Tampa Bay defensive tackle Clinton McDonald.