Paxton Lynch's injured ankle could be 'a factor' against Chiefs

Paxton Lynch is working hard to bounce back after a season of injuries. "I'm staying positive and I'll make the most of my opportunity that I have this weekend," he said. Russell Lansford/Icon Sportswire

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- All eyes will be on Denver Broncos quarterback Paxton Lynch on Sunday as he makes his second start of the season in what is also his last chance of 2017 to show the Broncos his value and possibly influence the offseason decisions coming at quarterback. The team will also pay attention to how he's moving on his injured ankle.

Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said the ankle, which Lynch injured Nov. 26 against the Oakland Raiders, is still bothering the second-year quarterback. Lynch was listed as a full participant in both Wednesday's and Thursday's practices.

"I think that's a factor," Musgrave said after Thursday's practice. "... We've got to assess how his movement is. We want him to be able to get out of the way and defend himself out on the field.

"He's hopping along a little bit. He's still got a little gimp, but he's working through it -- to his credit," Musgrave continued. "We expect him to be even more mobile three days from now."

If the coaches and medical staff determine Lynch isn't moving around well enough against the Chiefs to protect himself and escape the Kansas City pass rush, he will be pulled from Sunday's game, said Musgrave.

Lynch said earlier this week that he felt "a lot better" than he did last week when he had practiced for the first time since leaving the game against the Raiders.

"The thing is, those ankle injuries are just something that kind of nag around and linger," Lynch said. "You just have to be able to go out there, play with it and loosen it up a little bit. I think last week they wanted to hold me out one more week and this week I feel a lot better."

Lynch's practice time has been curtailed much of the season because of a shoulder injury he suffered in the Broncos' third preseason game and the ankle injury that came shortly after his return from the shoulder issue.

It means he hasn't played nearly as much as he, or the Broncos, may have expected him to by this point in his career after the team traded up in the first round of the 2016 draft to select him with the 26th pick. Sunday will be Lynch's fourth career start and the fifth game he has played in the past two seasons combined.

He has completed 60 percent of his passes with two touchdowns as well as two interceptions and has been sacked 13 times. Asked this week why he thought things haven't come as quickly as he expected -- he lost back-to-back training-camp battles with Trevor Siemian for the starting job -- Lynch pointed to his injuries this season in particular.

"I can't do anything about that, it's part of football, people are going to get hurt," Lynch said. "The biggest thing is how you bounce back from that stuff and how you bounce back from adversity in these situations. My mindset has always been staying positive and moving forward. I can't control the uncontrollable, which has happened and it happens to everybody. I'm staying positive and I'll make the most of my opportunity that I have this weekend."

The Chiefs are expected to play several backups in the game given that their playoff position -- they are the AFC's No. 4 seed -- won't change whether they win or lose to the Broncos.