With three preseason games left, beginning with Saturday’s trip to face the Denver Broncos, the San Francisco 49ers and new head coach Chip Kelly are still in the midst of a major decision ahead of the 2016 NFL season. Name a healthy but underwhelming Blaine Gabbert the opening day starter, or wait to see if Colin Kaepernick can get healthy enough to reclaim the position he’s held for the better part of the last four seasons?

The answer has yet to boil to the surface as Kaepernick may still be suffering soreness in his right, throwing shoulder. Or what’s also been reported as “a dead arm.” However, according to the NFL Network, Kaepernick was fully dressed for Wednesday’s joint practice with the Broncos even though the 28-year-old was not seen throwing.

Other than Kaepnerick’s health, a number of factors have collided both recently and in the offseason that may make Kelly’s choice much easier. For one, as the San Jose Mercury News pointed out, Gabbert seems the best choice because the 49ers were actively trying to trade Kaepernick to the Broncos.

Furthermore, the report stresses that if Kaepernick cannot appear against Denver at Mile High reason dictates that he won’t have the proper amount of reps necessary to be the opening day starter. Kaepernick also underwent surgeries on his right thumb and left knee in January, on top of the procedure performed on his left shoulder last year.

Still, Kelly admitted five-year veteran Gabbert was less than stellar in the 24-13 preseason opening loss to Houston three days ago. Over the course of 19 snaps in the first half, Gabbert went 4-for-10 for 63 yards and one touchdown pass to tight end Vance McDonald. It was a far cry from the resurgent Gabbert who completed 63 percent of his attempts in eight starts last season.

"It was up and down, both Blaine and our first-team offense," Kelly said. "I think that first drive, a couple balls he probably wants back, trying to get us on track.

"But I think once they settled down, got into a rhythm, I thought they did a really nice job of executing."

Given Kelly’s just beginning his first season in San Francisco, after an up and down three-year run in Philadelphia, and the fact the 49ers are coming off a 5-11 record in 2015 (their worst in five years), there is some time and perhaps even some understanding from the front office should the coach take the wait-and-see approach.

But after Gabbert, who is healthy now, and Kaepernick, who is not, Kelly may be forced to make a decision sooner rather than later. Former Buffalo and Cleveland quarterback Thad Lewis (2-4 as a starter with five touchdowns to four interceptions) and rookie Jeff Driskel are next up on San Francisco’s depth chart and neither appears to be a suitable option for Kelly or the 49ers at the moment.